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Wildlife and Wildflowers

See also: Birding, Fishing, Hunting, Gardens for Wildlife, and Native Plants.

Selected Books

Included below are some guidebooks specific to our general region and also a few books that are not commonly encountered.

Adkins, Leonard M.
Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail
QK122.3.A45 1999
Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail is the go-to resource for anyone interested in the wildflowers found along the 2,175-mile-long Appalachian National Scenic Trail. Also included for many of the 94 flowers profiled in the book is the fascinating role the flower has played through history and its value in folkloric as well as modern medicine.
Bastian, Scott F.
Somerset County Naturally: A Guide to Enjoying the Wildlife of Somerset County
PENNA q QL202.B37 2002x
Take this guidebook along with you the next time you visit the Laurel Highlands.
Bessette, Arleen Rainis and Alan E. Bessette
The Rainbow Beneath My Feet: A Mushroom Dyer's Field Guide
TT854.3.B47 2001
A unique and useful reference guide to some of the more common and best color-producing dye mushrooms of North America.
Fergus, Charles
Trees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast
QK183.F47 2002
With populations of both northern and southern trees, Pennsylvania is home to a truly diverse array of species. This book describes more than 60 species of trees found in Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States in a straightforward, informative style.
Fergus, Charles
Wildlife of Pennsylvania and the Northeast
QL606.52.U6 F47 2000
Natural history narratives for more than 300 species.
Gibbons, Euell
Stalking the Wild Asparagus
This is the classic book on foraging for wild plants.
Haywood, Mary Joy and Phyllis Testal Monk
Wildflowers of Pennsylvania
QK183.H38 2001x
This guidebook, published by the Botanical Society of Western Pennsylvania, is fully illustrated with photos of each flower.
Hemmerly, Thomas E.
Appalachian Wildflowers: An Ecological Guide to Flowering plants from Quebec to Georgia
QK122.3.H46 2000
The 378 color plates, grouped by color for clear reference, appear alongside plant descriptions for ease of identification.
Medina, Barbara F.
Central Appalachian Wildflowers
QK122.3.M43 2002
"A field guide to common wildflowers of the Central Appalachian Mountains, including Shenandoah National Park, the Catskill Mountains, and the Berkshire Mountains"
Medve, Richard J. and Mary Lee Medve
Edible Wild Plants of Pennsylvania and Neighboring States
QK98.5.U6 M43 1990
Information on plants, line drawings and recipes.
Merritt, Joseph F.
Guide to the Mammals of Pennsylvania
QL719.P4 M47 1987
Student, scholar, and nature lover alike now have a ready reference to distinguish between 63 species of wild mammals in Pennsylvania, many of which are rarely seen except when pursued by an interested biologist, mammalogist, or nature photographer.
Pyle, Robert Michael
Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies
QL548 .P94 1981
A handy field guide with more than 1,000 photographs of all the butterflies of North America north of Mexico. The color plates are visually arranged by shape and color, and thumb-tab silhouettes provide a convenient index to identification of butterflies in the field.
Roody, William C.
Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians
QK617.R64 2003
With its dense forests and plentiful rainfall, West Virginia and the rest of the Central Appalachian region is an almost perfect habitat for hundreds of varieties of wild mushrooms.
Russell, Bill
Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic
PENNA QK605.5.P4 R87 2006
Suited to both the novice and the experienced mushroom hunter, Bill Russell's Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic helps the reader learn where to look for edible mushrooms and what to look for.
Schwab, Alexander
Mushrooming without Fear: the beginner's guide to collecting safe and delicious mushrooms
SB353.S39 2006
Novices eager to collect tasty wild mushrooms will find this unique guide invaluable since it focuses only on those types that are both safe to eat and delicious, and presents the eight rules of mushroom gathering.
Stokes, Donald W. and Lillian Stokes
Stokes Beginner's Guide to Butterflies
QL542.S76 2001
Information on identification and the behavior of a variety of butterflies is offered in this pocket-sized guide for the beginning butterfly enthusiast. 150 full-color photos.
Thayer, Samuel
Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
QK98.5.A1 T436 2010x
Sam Thayer has been foraging in Wisconsin for much of his life. Check out his Forager's Harvest website.
Thorington, Richard W. and Katie Ferrell
Squirrels: The Animal Answer Guide
QL737.R68 T48 2006
Thornington and Ferrell give us the lowdown on one of the most watched mammals on the planet.

Browse the Catalog

For additional books, browse the library catalog under the following subjects:


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Pittsburgh Region



  • Common Trees of Pennsylvania
    This is a 70 page booklet in .pdf format from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Forestry.
  • Pennsylvania Herp Identification
    Pennsylvania Herpetofaunal Identification is an educational tool for the public on the reptiles and amphibians found throughout Pennsylvania.

    Nearby States

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    Web Sites

    • American Field Guide
      Produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting, American Field Guide has recast outdoors programming content from nearly 30 stations across the country into online videos. You can browse by animals, ecosystems, human history, livelihoods, earth and space, plants, public policy and recreation or you can search and limit by state.
    • Annenberg Learner: Journey North
      Journey North engages K-12 students in a study of wildlife migration and seasonal change across North America. Track the coming of spring through the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, and other birds and mammals; the budding of plants; changing sunlight; and other natural events.
    • Discover the Forest
      This site from the US Forest Service and the Ad Council has activities for kids for learning about forest animals.
    • Endangered Species Program
      Information from the US Fish & Wildlife Service on endangered species of the United States. Compare the number of endangered species for Pennsylvania (17) with those of California (292) and Hawaii (317)!
    • Humane Society of the U.S.: Urban Wildlife -- Our Wild Neighbors
      This website includes a variety of articles on creating a haven for wildlife in your backyard.
    • Library of Congress: Edible Wild Plants
      This Science Tracer Bullet offers print and online resources for edible wild plants
    • Minnesota Wildflowers
      An informative site maintained by Katy Chayka, MN Master Naturalist Volunteer and native plant enthusiast. The What's Blooming list of plants by month is useful and each plant has photos of flower, leaves and stem and fruit. You can also browse photos by flower color.
    • National Wildlife Federation
      NWF offers a variety of educational and action oriented outdoor adventure programs across the country and around the world.
      • National Wildlife
        A magazine from the National Wildlife Federation. Articles about animals, biodiversity, and ecology in the United States. Offers full text articles from previous issues, including photographs. It also offers an index to past articles (check your local library for past issues not on their website!).
    • North American Mammals
      The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History has an online database of the mammals of North America. You can search the database or find the mammals that are found in your area. It allows you to compile and print out a field guide in .pdf format of mammals that you select.
    • Washington Post: Urban Jungle (Natural History)
      The changing natural world at our doorsteps, a newspaper column by Patterson Clark

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    Mobile Apps

    • Audubon Guides: Mobile Apps
      Great for birdwatching, hiking and exploring the outdoors, guides feature high quality photographs, range maps, animal sounds and and the ability to create your own lifelists and record sightings. They are available for mammals, insects, butterflies, birds, wildflowers, trees, reptiles and amphibians, fungi, etc.