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This Book Was a Tree: Ideas, Adventures, and Inspiration for Rediscovering the Natural World Paperback – April 1, 2014
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“Marcie Cuff makes nature even more fun than the way you find it. This is a book about imagination and creativity—and getting dirty. The projects in This Book Was a Tree remind me of the dozens of ways we can all connect with the natural world on a daily basis. And since Marcie writes from the heart, you can just feel the satisfaction and even joy you’ll get from connecting a little bit more with the world around you. She has ideas that everyone can try alone or with friends or family. She’s going to make a lot of lives simpler, happier, and more plugged in to the world that’s all around us.” —David Yarnold, President and CEO of National Audubon Society
“It really is good to get dirty, and this is a wonderful guidebook to exactly how!” —Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home
“Somewhere, in a book of advice on aging, I read a fine adage: Do something real every day. That’s good advice for people of every age. From the title of the book, through all of its pages of ideas and adventures, Marcie Chambers Cuff helps us remember what’s real and what makes kids and their families feel fully alive in a virtual age.” —Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle
“Whether you live in a twenty-story building in the middle of the city or on a twenty-acre preserve, this beautifully illustrated book urges us all to explore the outdoors like never before. Full of fun, simple ideas and endless inspiration, Cuff ’s book will help all ages get creative and get connected—to nature, to the process, and to the world in which we live.” —Bernadette Noll, author of Slow Family Living
“A book that wonderfully captures the wandering and wonderment of my youth—and brings it to life again. Part project, part prose, what was destined for my eleven-year-old niece in New England has managed to linger on my desk for too long. I might even keep it for myself!” —M. Sanjayan, lead scientist at the Nature Conservancy and TV host
“This book still is a tree: to climb, survey, and touch the simple wonders of nature. Marcie Chambers Cuff gives us back the physical world: Most of all, she returns it to our children.” —Adrian Higgins, garden columnist for the Washington Post
“This Book Was a Tree is full of sparks to reignite your curiosity and engagement with the natural world around you.” —Toby A. Adams, director of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden
“If we forget where we came from, we are lost. Marcie’s book offers a path home and endless opportunities to learn. We love what we know, so we have to begin with the knowing, and this book can help you begin. This Book Was a Tree can help anyone begin to love the natural world around them and want to be part of it.” —Ellen D. Ketterson, distinguished professor of biology and executive producer of Ordinary Extraordinary Junco
“If orangutans, Asian elephants, and crows can improvise creative ways to interact with nature, Marcie Cuff shows us: so can we! You are very lucky that you have picked up this book. Now go get your hands dirty and have fun!” —Melanie Choukas-Bradley, naturalist and author of City of Trees
“Marcie Cuff ’s book is a treasure! Even a diehard nature lover like me found new inspiration and ideas for getting my kid to put down the screens and come outside and explore, ask questions, and get our hands dirty while learning about this magnificent planet we share. Any parent who is frustrated by the draw of today’s relentless gadgets should bring this book home.” —Annie Leonard, author and host of The Story of Stuff
“This Book Was a Tree is a strong and creative shout-out to all of us who are artists, teachers, naturalists, parents, and simply humans. This book begs us to put down our button-pushing gadgets and challenges us to reconnect to nature through pages of timeless projects, creative acts, and deep thought. From guerrilla gardening to pinhole cameras to phenology, Ms. Cuff covers it all with the expertise of a scientist and a mother. This is not another book of ‘nature crafts’ you can do with a paper plate or a corn husk. The introduction alone may bring you to tears with an urgent message speaking of global damage, environmental degradation, and ozone depletion. The author invites us to keep a foot in both worlds knowing that we can come to our senses through purposeful and fun exploration of the natural environment around us, no matter where we live. I applaud This Book Was a Tree for being a tree first and giving the author the pages to share with us the most important message of our time.” —Amy Butler, director of education for the North Branch Nature Center and founder of ECO (Educating Children Outdoors)
“It becomes obvious early on that writing This Book Was a Tree was a labor of love for author Marcie Chambers Cuff. The passion in her words and conviction in her messages are real, and comforting. Her message is simple: Step away from the A/V technology of the twenty-first century and go outside to experience the natural world. Overcome the inertia of home comforts and go out and get dirty, poke things with a stick (dead things, which is how all wildlife biologists get their start), look around, use that acorn between your shoulders, and become creative, think on your own. This book is not just for city folk, nor is it just for kids. It’s something to be shared between parent and child, teacher and student. It belongs at home and in schools. It’s projects and adventures to be shared for years and among generations.” —Michael J. Petrula, research and management biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation
About the Author
Marcie Cuff has an academic background in studio art, evolutionary biology and animal behavior, and an MA in Secondary Science teaching. Now a nature columnist for a regional newspaper, The Hudson Independent, she has written professionally for most of her life, and runs Mossy, a blog highlighting innovative family projects, hands-on parenting commentary, and related photography, and listed as one of Babble’s top 50 Mom Craft Blogs of 2011. She works as a garden coordinator at a local elementary school, and organizes and maintains a community-based vegetable garden.
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This book is the key to some good fun this season. It was great as a parent to read it and be inspired. Then together with my kids we enjoyed trying out some of the cool projects, a favorite... Seedbombs!
It is a great gift for a high school or college grad and anybody like me who's been spending just a bit too much time tapping away at their phone.