Local Book Places: Nature Centers have Specialized Collections

I’ve been featuring local bookstores because finding just the right book can be a treasure hunt. And blazing a trail to the buried treasure chest can lead to many different locations.

For instance, if you take a sudden interest in the flora and fauna of your backyard, as I have recently, it can be hard to find places to learn to identity the trees by leaf or the birds by name. (Note that I tried googling “blackbirds in Virginia.” Somewhat helpful but nowhere near as comprehensive as a locally sourced print guide.)

Enter Hidden Oaks Nature Center

, one of the many nature centers in Fairfax and Arlington Co. They, and other centers, have small collections, open to the public, of precisely this sort of thing: classification guides to the plants and animals, geology, stars, etc.

Lovely! Now I can learn the names of the mushrooms sprouting from my aging mulch.

But the point here is that there are often specialized collections available outside of stores and public libraries, which can be especially useful if you have localized or highly targeted interests. They must be hunted however.

Colleges, local governmental resources like towns and counties are good starting places.

Here are some photos of the charming little collection at Hidden Oaks. It’s as quirky and sincere as it looks.





That last picture came from my backyard. What is this? Is it edible?

Questions: have you had any surprise finds of specialty collections? Do you have any tips for locating these or tracking down a unique title?


6 thoughts on “Local Book Places: Nature Centers have Specialized Collections

  1. Although I’ve often used the Hidden Oaks trails, I’ve never ventured inside the bookshop. I will next time I’m there!
    Your photo of the mushroom book reminds me of the German one
    I have that rates mushrooms as edible, poisonous, or not so poisonous [“night so giftig”] . . .

  2. Where in Germany have you been?
    After 2 years in Hamburg, I was assigned to the American Embassy in Bonn where I experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany during my 3 years there.

    • Whoa, David that is awesome! You witnessed an important piece of history!!

      I went to Germany twice, both time to Cologne and Gummersbach, where my exchange friends lived. In 2013, she came to visit me here again and we saw all the DC sites.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s