Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada

Written and Illustrated by John Muir Laws

The astonishing natural diversity of the Sierra Nevada comes alive in this great field guide, at once comprehensive and yet small enough to fit in your pocket or pack. With more than 2,800 original watercolor illustrations, John Muir Laws has masterfully catalogued more than 1,700 species of Sierra trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, fungi, lichens, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and spiders, and other small animals. It also includes guides to animal tracks and scat, galls, weather and stars.

The guide, which covers species found from Lassen National Park and Forest in the north to Sequoia National Park and Forest in the south,  is brilliantly designed for quick and easy use in the field and along trails or back roads, with a quick-reference, color-coded table of contents inside the front cover, easy-to-use tabs and keys, a rule in inches and centimeters, and an extensive 27-page index. Laws's rich illustrations capture the feeling of plants and animals with detail critical for their classification.

The guide also includes natural history notes on behavior and species interactions. Experience the natural wonders of the Sierra Nevada as never before with this most accessible and beautiful book.

368 pages, 4-¾" x 8-¾", full-color printing on glossy paper, durable binding, more than 2,800 color illustrations, reference map of Sierra National Forests and National Parks plus several range maps, index of common and scientific names. Published by Heyday Books with assistance from the California Academy of Sciences. ISBN 978-1-59714-052-2
trade paper with durable binding



About the author and creation of this guide:

Naturalist, educator and artist John Muir Laws received as B.S. in conservation and resource studies at the University of California, Berkeley; an M.S. in wildlife biology from the University of Montana, Missoula; and a certificate in scientific illustration from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is a research associate of the California Academy of Sciences and the author of Sierra Birds: A Hiker's Guide, also available from Bored Feet.

Laws has created this ground-breaking, landmark field guide as the product of six years of intensive fieldwork, research, painting, field-testing, collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences, and the help of some of the best naturalists throughout the state.

From the back cover:

A comprehensive field guide to the natural wonders of the Range of Light

In this ground-breaking and meticulously field-tested guide, the rich variety of Sierra life — trees, wildflowers, ferns, fungi, lichens, fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, insects, and other small animals — comes alive.

Easy-to-use features include:

  • Intuitive organization, color tabs, and simple keys
  • Similar-looking species side by side
  • Over 2800 full-color illustration
  • Range maps of species that are otherwise difficult to distinguish
  • Index of common and scientific names
  • Lightweight and compact — ideal for backpacking

Impressively detailed and comprehensive, the guide includes:

  • Over 1700 species
  • Descriptions of behavior, adaptations, and interactions between species
  • Species and topics not found in most guides &"8212; aquatic life, spiders and webs, plankton, plant galls, bark beetle galleries, animal tracks and evidence, seasonal star charts, weather patterns, and cloud formations

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