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Nature Obscura: A City’s Hidden Natural World (2020) is set in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest of America, among nature. 

Nature Obscura is a ‘projection of the nature found in a city onto a piece of paper.’ Divided into the four seasons of the year, the author inspects the animals and plants in her environment.

From pond scum to rooftop moss to petri dish; from wild snails to dragonflies to tardigrades; and from fear to foraging to fascination, this is sometimes serious and other times light-hearted and comic, presenting information in an entertaining way.

The author does not travel far. This is written from her back yard and her local neighbourhood, in an urban habitat. There is no road less travelled. This is about the roads well-travelled but rarely inspected in minute detail. 

Like camera obscura — the darkened enclosure with a lens through which light from external objects penetrates to form an image — this book is about nature obscura — examining nature through a lens and discovering a whole new world: nature hiding in plain sight.

The author sums up her observations with a chapter on the inter-connectedness of nature and their symbiotic associations—the ‘wood-wide web’ as she calls it. For nature lovers and the curious, this book is very interesting. 





Photographer: Martina Nicolls

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