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Winter Tree Finder: A Manual for Identifying Deciduous Trees in Winter (Eastern US) (Nature Study Guides) Paperback – January 1, 1970

ISBN-13: 978-0912550039 ISBN-10: 0912550031

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Winter Tree Finder: A Manual for Identifying Deciduous Trees in Winter (Eastern US) (Nature Study Guides) + Tree Finder: A Manual for Identification of Trees by their Leaves (Eastern US) (Nature Study Guides) + Flower Finder: A Guide to the Identification of Spring Wild Flowers and Flower Families East of the Rockies and North of the Smokies, Exclusive of Trees and Shrubs (Nature Study Guides)
Price for all three: $17.69

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Product Details

  • Series: Nature Study Guides
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Nature Study Guild Publishers (January 1, 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0912550031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0912550039
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 6.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A great take-along on winter hikes. The "finder" guides can be hard to find, but these easy-to-use, notebook-size illustrated keys to flowers, trees, ferns, tracks, and more are worth the search. -- Terry Krautwurst, in Backpacker Magazine, September 1999

An excellent and inexpensive pocket-sized key to winter identification. -- Denise Ellsworth, Akron Beacon Journal, Feb. 12, 2000

This is an excellent and inexpensive pocket-sized key to winter identification. -- Akron Beacon Journal, February 12, 2000

Winter Tree Finder has been my bible for as long as it's been available. It fits easily into your hip pocket and contains wonderfully clear illustrations showing the branch pattern, bud shape, fruit, and appearance of all the major midwestern and eastern tree species. You can find more comprehensive tree books, but not one that better combines breadth and utility. It's a terrific book to have when you're examining your new woods. Better still, this volume is only the tip of the iceberg. Nature Study Guild also publishes four tree finder books. . .divided by region, not to mention more than a dozen guides to wildflowers, ferns, berries, mammals, and even a Winter Weed Finder. -- William Bryant Logan, in Garden Design Magazine, February 1995

Winter tree walk: It's easiest to identify trees by their leaves, but equipped with a good key like May Watts' Winter Tree Finder, you will quickly learn the dozen species that dominate any given tree stand. Start with evergreens (use Watts' Tree Finder), since there are so few species and their distinctive leaves make identification easy. -- Susan Eschbach, in The Conservationist, February 1995

Customer Reviews

Well laid out and very complete.
Volter
Generally, it's difficult to identify many trees in the winter when the leaves are gone, but this little guide really helps to make it easier.
Eusebius
One nice thing about this and other guides in the series is its portability; it easily fits in a pocket or backpack.
Irv

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By John G. Curington on March 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
The "Winter Tree Finder" by May Theilgaard Watts and Tom Watts is a compact little gem.

I have not been able to find such a comprehensive and easily portable guide to using leaf scars, buds, and twigs to identify trees in any other source.

The entire book is only 58 pages long and easily fits in a pocket or backpack. Page 1 includes a nice diagram and description of the parts of a twig. Then you progress through a series of questions and drawings that helps you arrive at the identification of the tree. The last few pages include an index and the rear cover has a little measuring rule.

On the whole, this is a useful and fun guide to trees while hiking in the winter.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James S. MacLachlan on April 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
On a 'Winter Tree ID Hike' at a local nature center, we were given this book to use as a reference. We practiced it & found that we could all easily identify trees with it - but it did take some time to READ, COMPREHEND & PRACTICE before we were all proficient. Some took a little longer &, in every case, it was because they tried to short cut the process. So if you're having trouble using it, go back & re-read. It's really quite easy, once you get the hang of it.

For such a small book, it packs a lot of trees into it - Eastern North America only. You won't find hybrids, some imports (garden) trees, but it packs in over 100 common trees & can lead anyone into a quick, accurate identification with very little practice. It's small enough to fit into a back pocket without a bulge, which means I'm more likely to have it with me when I want it. That's the biggest plus. The more comprehensive books are OK, but they're always back at the house when I need them or in the way as I walk through the woods & want to take a picture. Not this book!

I have several tree ID books & I may outgrow this one. But I haven't outgrown "The Tree Finder" by the same authors (for trees with leaves) & I've been using it for a couple of years on a pretty regular basis. Often I'll think I've found a tree that won't be in it, but there it is. It's been so worthwhile that I got a second copy to keep in the truck.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Irving on February 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This little book will teach you to be MUCH MORE observant of the features of a twig on a tree you are trying to identify. Without the leaves of Spring and summer to distract you (and makethe job easier?) - You look closer at the true differences of every tree, and you learn much more about trees in the process. Your powers of observation will increase 10 fold!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Joseph S. Williamson on February 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fine little guide. It's close to the perfect field guide on this under-treated subject--physically small, light and reasonably complete. If your nature rambles don't stop when it gets cold, you should consider this little volume.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book does a very sensible job of helping people idnetify trees when the normal folliage is missing.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christopher A. Mest on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a certified arborist I was having a little trouble with my winter i.d. of trees. This little book has helped tremendously.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cordalie Benoit on October 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I like the way this book allows anyone to identify trees in winter. Its small size makes it easy to carry one a hike. A must for the backpack.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By CBock on March 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the idea of this booklet because where I live (New England) we have long winters. And these authors obviously know their stuff. I credit them for trying to make what's obviously a tricky process, simple, but when I went out into the woods with this guide I found it just wasn't practical.

CONS

1. Identifying actual twigs in the woods wasn't as easy as following along with the "if this, then this" steps. There is a lot of gray area and a lot that had me scratching my head. Here are two examples:

"If there are several scattered vein scars on a slightly-raised leaf scar, and the pith is 5-sided or star-shaped, it is an OAK." What does "slightly-raised" mean? I don't have any reference point to measure it against.

"If the leaf scars are marked with 3 to 5 vein scars; and two buds, depressed, looking like craters on the Moon, push out above the leaf scar; and if the pith is thick and salmon-colored, it is Kentucky Coffee Tree."

Now, I must note, they explain what leaf and vein scars and piths are in the front of the book, but even so, I found myself saying, "Well, it sort of looks like that but, then again ... ." Or, "well, it has some of those characteristics, but not all."

2. They include black and white illustrations of twigs to help you along. But, again, they weren't definitive enough in some instances---which forces you to guess, especially when it comes to the colors they describe. For example, "Light satiny gray" or "darker, pewter-gray. Perhaps most people know the difference, but I had to come back and look it up. And that's just one example. There are also several examples like this when it comes to texture.

3. Some of the twigs to the larger trees are WAY to high to ever have a shot at getting them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

May Theilgaard Watts was a poet, artist, gardener, and above all, a teacher. She is best known for her book Reading the Landscape: An Adventure in Ecology (later published in an expanded edition as Reading the Landscape of America,) and as founder of the Illinois Prairie Path.

May was born to Danish parents in Chicago, on May 1, 1893. Her first teaching job was in a one-room schoolhouse. At the start of the school year, she would take a train out to a rural school district, where she lived with a farmer's family. During the summers, she came home to her parents' house in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, and attended the University of Chicago. There, she took classes from the pioneering American ecologist, Henry C. Cowles, whose work she would popularize in her books.

After graduating from college, May she taught at a Chicago-area high school until her marriage in 1924 to Raymond Watts. While raising her family, she spoke and wrote widely about native plants and landscapes. From 1941 until her retirement, Watts worked as staff naturalist at the Morton Arboretum, west of Chicago, where she created the Arboretum's innovative education program.

May and her husband, Raymond Watts, started the publishing imprint Nature Study Guild Publishers to publish her pocket guides Tree Finder and Flower Finder.

In 1963, at the age of 70, she instigated the movement to convert an abandoned railroad right-of-way into the Illinois Prairie Path. May died in her home in Naperville, Illinois, in 1975, with a piece of unfinished writing waiting for her in her typewriter.

When Reading the Landscape was first published, in 1957, its jacket included a quote from the naturalist Edwin Way Teale: "Mrs. Watts has a valuable and original idea in considering the whole ecological interrelationship represented by each different landscape in turn." Her publisher appended a definition of the word "ecology," evidently not expecting readers to be familiar with the word.

Ecology is no longer an arcane term, in part because of May Theilgaard Watts' work, through her books, lectures, and field trips, to interest non-scientists in nature and its interrelationships.

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Winter Tree Finder: A Manual for Identifying Deciduous Trees in Winter (Eastern US) (Nature Study Guides)
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