Category Archives: Book club selections

July 2019 Book Selection

The Jefferson Land Trust Natural History Society Book Club will meet on Monday, July 22, 2019, 3:30 – 5:00, to discuss The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.  We will meet at the shelter at Ilahee Preserve, gathering at the parking lot near San Juan Taqueria at 3:15 to carpool to the limited parking at Ilahee.

Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus and the remarkable connections they make with humans. Scientists are now establishing the intelligence of the octopus, watching them solve problems and deciphering the meaning of their color-changing camouflage techniques. Montgomery chronicles this growing appreciation of the octopus. and  reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.

June 2019 Book Selection

On Monday, June 24, 2019, the JLT Natural History Society book club will discuss Pilgrim on the Great Bird  Continent by Lyanda Lynn Haupt.  We will meet in the gazebo at Ilahee Preserve from 3:30-5:00.  Let’s gather at 3:15  in the parking lot across from San Juan Taqueria on Prospect Avenue (where you turn off Hwy 19 to go to Kala Point) so we can carpool to Ilahee.

The complete title of June’s book is Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks.  Author Lyanda Lynn Haupt is familiar to book club members, as we have read other books by her – Mozart’s Starling, Urban Bestiary, and Crow Planet. 

Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent combines observations on nature, a poetic sense, and wonderful detail on Charles Darwin. Haupt focuses mostly on the birds Darwin observed, having researched meticulously some of his lesser-known writings. She describes Darwin’s transformation into a “true naturalist” while helping us understand the human relationship to the natural world.


May 2019 Book Selection

On Monday, May 20, the JLT Natural History Society book club will discuss Eager by Ben Goldfarb.

We will meet at the Ilahee Preserve from 3:30 – 5:00. Let’s congregate at the parking lot across from San Juan Taqueria on Prospect Avenue at 3:15, carpooling from there to the Ilahee.  (Jefferson Land Trust is doing what it can to minimize the number of cars on the road and in the parking lot at Ilahee.)




Ben Goldfarb, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter (2018) is the story of one of the world’s most influential species and the ecological consequences when that species is lost.  This book reveals how beavers can help us fight drought, flooding, wildfire, extinction, and the ravages of climate change. Habitat for species from salmon to swans can be restored by returning beavers to the landscape. There is a growing coalition of “Beaver Believers”―including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens―who recognize that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. This book describes both the elimination of beavers as well as current efforts to reintroduce them in various geographic regions.

April 2019 Book Selection

The JLT Natural History Society book club will read Beyond the Outer Shores by Eric Enno Tamm in April 2019.  We will meet on Monday, April 22, at the Charles Pink House next to the Port Townsend Carnegie Library 3:30-5:00.





Beyond the Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell is a biography of the man who was the inspiration for “Doc” in Steinbeck’s writings on Cannery Row.  Ricketts was the not formally trained but influential marine biologist who wrote Between Pacific Tides, the widely known text on intertidal zones.  His ecological and philosophical thoughts were way ahead of his time, and as the subtitle states, many of the ideas of Steinbeck and Campbell can be attributed to their association with Ricketts.

March 2019 Book Selection

In March 2019 the Jefferson Land Trust Natural History Society book club will read What a Plant Knows by Daniel Chamovitz.  We will discuss the book at our meeting on Monday, March 25, to be held at the Charles Pink House (next to the Carnegie Library in Port Townsend), from 3:30-5:00.



Renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents an intriguing look at how plants themselves experience the world―from the colors they see to the schedules they keep. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, he takes us into the inner lives of plants and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize.  Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory,  What a Plant Knows offers us a greater understanding of botany and science and our place in nature.