What Is a Perfect Field Guide, and Why Don’t We Already Have Them?

Saturday May 12 2018   7:00 PM
UC Sedgwick Reserve, Tipton House  3566 Brinkerhoff Ave, Santa Ynez, CA  map

This informal talk and book-signing with California author and naturalist Charles Hood will take us on a tour of current field guide offerings and explore the pleasures and challenges of trying to write, illustrate, produce, and market the perfect field guide. Charles will start with birds but also discuss mushrooms, trees, insects, and even lichens. Along the way he will consider the origins of field guides, going as far back as Shakespeare’s time, when naturalists of that age asked, “Can a good enough field guide help keep away the Devil?” Join him for a lively discussion as we think about the answers and look ahead to what we can expect in the years to come. He’ll be signing copies of his book, A Californian’s Guide to the Birds among Us.

Presented by the Santa Ynez Valley Natural History Society. More info here.


Charles Hood has studied birds and natural history from the Amazon to Tibet, and he has seen more than five thousand species of birds in the wild. A widely published poet, he has received numerous fellowships and writing awards, and his most recent artist-in-residence positions were with the National Science Foundation in Antarctica and with Playa Arts in Oregon. He has also been a visiting professor in England, Mexico, and Papua New Guinea. Hood is currently a research fellow with the Center for Art and Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art as well as a teacher of writing and photography at Antelope Valley College in the Mojave Desert.