Stacy Cole's Nature Talks: Nature experts launch New England tour

Special to the New Hampshire Union Leader
October 19. 2012 8:36PM

I am sure most of our readers have heard of individuals participating in so-called 'Big Bird Days,' where birders meet at midnight, then spread out throughout a pre-selected area to compete with one another for the next 24 hours to see who can identify and count the greatest number of birds. Then there is 'The Big Year' where the world's most enthusiastic birders compete to see who can identify and count the most bird species.

Now come Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman, who recently had published their 'Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England,' and who began traveling throughout the six-state region Oct. 16 at the New England Wildflower Society in Framingham, Mass. Their stay will end on Oct. 30 at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vt., and include stops at five bookshops in New Hampshire. The Kaufman's personal New England trip could be called their 'Big October Nature Days.'

They will continue their discovery of New England's natural world by challenging themselves to detect 350 different kinds of living things during their stay. Fans and nature lovers can visually follow along on their tour by checking in to their website (; on Facebook (Kaufman Field Guides); or Twitter (@KennKaufman). Included within these computer updates throughout the tour, they will run contests with free book giveaways.

To introduce the 'Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England,' the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (222 Berkeley St., Boston, 02116) wrote: 'There is a magnificent (and sometimes maddening) diversity of living things in New England. Birding enthusiasts, gardeners, trackers, star watchers, rock climbers, and others will rejoice in this brand new Kaufman Field Guide title.'

An acclaimed author and nature expert Kenn Kaufman has joined with his co-author/wife naturalist Kimberly to bring together New England's vast scenery and animal life into one accessible volume. 'With authoritative and broad coverage, using nontechnical and lively language and more than 2,000 color photographs, the 'Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England' helps readers identify birds, mammals, trees, wildflowers, insects, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, spiders, mushrooms, ferns, and seashells,' it was further noted.

Both Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman are authors of several nature publications. Kenn, one of the world's best known bird experts, is the author of the Kaufman Field Guide Series as well as other titles published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Kimberly, executive director of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory in Ohio, is also a contributing editor to 'Birds & Blooms' magazine. She has traveled throughout the New England states in pursuit of natural history subjects, having taught at the Audubon Camp in Maine.

The Kaufman guides are subtitled 'the easiest guides for fast identification.' At the end of the 'Field Guide to Nature of New England' I was amazed to find, following a very thorough index, a page called, 'quick index' that listed page numbers where general subject matter could be found.

I can't recall any book, except an encyclopedia, that contained such specific identification information on so many nature subjects. This unusual book, I believe, will soon become the most valuable handbook of nature identification one can carry in their pocket while on an outdoors stroll, or in a backpack while hiking throughout New England.

The Kaufman's New Hampshire itinerary will include:

Concord, at Gibson's - Oct. 24; Exeter, Water Street Bookstore - Oct. 25; North Conway, White Birch Books - Oct. 27; Peterborough, Toadstool Bookshop - Oct. 28; and in Keene at the Toadstool Bookshop - Oct. 29.

The publication date of the 'Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England' was Oct. 16. It contains 416 pages and is priced at $20.


While watching an October sky at sunset, it was not long before I discovered it had shouldered the color tones of our flaming hillside's brilliance. The sky had borrowed red and orange and from them created lengthy streaks of brightness that were used to usher the evening heavens along their way.

My gaze dropped from the sky. I watched the hillside, half expecting to see that the flaunting of its colors had been moderated. But, how beautifully brilliant they still were! The sky had used such stealth in its borrowing that the hillside showed no evidence of tampering.

I was suddenly saddened by the thought that all too soon, like the fresh colors of this night's evening sky, the brilliance of the leaves of flame would diminish more swiftly than I would wish. In the not-too-distant future, the inevitable falling snows of winter will arrive.


Stacey Cole's address is 529 W. Swanzey Road, Swanzey 03446.

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