Georgia-related science and nature books to read this summer

From a trip to the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the underwater sounds of snapping shrimp in a Georgia coastal marsh, to a lab studying antibiotic resistance at Emory University — here’s a roundup of Georgia-related science and nature books from the past few years.

If we missed one, chalk it up to lack of knowledge, not malice — and let us know what we should have included!

The Plant Hunter

by Cassandra Quave

Penguin Random House

In her 2021 memoir, Emory University ethnobotanist Cassandra Quave reflects on overcoming obstacles as a scientist while exploring the world and searching for new medical cures, drawing on traditional plant knowledge.

Wild Spectacle

By Janisse Ray

Trinity University Press

Georgia naturalist and author Janisse Ray celebrates wild places and wildlife in this 2021 essay collection, while also exploring her own personal relationships, remembering shared meals and friendships.

A Road Running Southward

By Dan Chapman

Island Press

Longtime journalist Dan Chapman, who used to report on the environment for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, retraces environmentalist John Muir’s post-Civil War journey across the Southeast. In this new release, Chapman describes the natural beauty of the South while documenting environmental destruction.

Sounds Wild and Broken

By David George Haskell

Penguin Random House

Biologist David George Haskell explores the evolution and future of sound, from the earliest crickets to the language of birds to how humans make music. This book from earlier this year is global in its scope but includes rich descriptions of the sounds of Georgia’s coastal salt marsh from this Atlanta-based author.  

Saving the Georgia Coast

By Paul Bolster

University of Georgia Press

It’s not just luck that Georgia has so much salt marsh left, unlike other states that allowed more draining and developing. Historian and former Georgia state house member Paul Bolster tells the story of how Georgians advocated to protect the marsh more than 50 years ago in this book from 2020.

Tracking the Golden Isles

By Anthony J. Martin

University of Georgia Press

Going much further back in time on the Georgia coast, Emory paleontologist Anthony Martin’s 2020 book explores fossils from millions of years ago and human history going back thousands of years, while also warning how rising sea levels threaten both the history and the future of Georgia’s coast.