Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California’s Oaks
by Kate Marianchild with illustrations by Ann Meyer Maglinte, 2013. Paperback, 224 pages.
A Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist
A Californian may vacation in Yosemite, Big Sur, or Death Valley, but many of us come home to an oak woodland. Yet, while common, oak woodlands are anything but ordinary.
In a book rich in illustration and suffused with wonder, author Kate Marianchild combines extensive research and years of personal experience to explore some of the marvelous plants and animals that the oak woodlands nurture. Acorn woodpeckers unite in marriages of up to ten mates and raise their young cooperatively. Ground squirrels roll in rattlesnake skins to hide their scent from hungry snakes. Manzanita’s rust-colored, paper-thin bark peels away in time for the summer solstice, exposing sinuous contours that are cool to the touch even on the hottest day.
Conveying up-to-the-minute scientific findings with a storyteller’s skill, Marianchild introduces us to a host of remarkable creatures in a world close by, a world that “rustles, hums, and sings with the sounds of wild things.”
About the Author
When Kate Marianchild migrated to the oak woodlands of inland Mendocino County in 2001, she promptly fell in love with an ecosystem. After writing for Audubon and other nature-oriented nonprofits for several years, she began the research that led to the writing of this book. Marianchild studied Chinese language and literature at UC Berkeley and New Asia College in Hong Kong, graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Berkeley with a degree in comparative literature. Following years of grassroots political activism, she moved to Mendocino County in 1980 and supported herself as a carpenter while founding and running Rising Tide Sea Vegetables, a company that is still thriving today under new ownership. For the past thirteen years she has lived in a cozy twenty-five-foot-diameter yurt with no indoor plumbing except a sink and a two-gallon hot water heater. In addition to watching wildlife, leading nature walks, and giving slide presentations, Marianchild sings with two community choirs, kayaks, swims, and participates in the events of her beloved community.