Early in the year, our North American forests come to life as native wildflowers start to push up through patches of snow. With longer days and sunlight streaming down through bare branches of towering trees, life on the forest floor awakens from its winter sleep. Plants such as green dragon, squirrel corn, and bloodroot interact with their pollinators and seed dispersers and rush to create new life before the trees above leaf out and block the sun’s rays.
Wake Up, Woods showcases the splendor of our warming forests and offers clues to nature’s annual springtime floral show as we walk in our parks and wilderness areas, or even in shade gardens around our homes.
Readers of Wake Up, Woods will see that Gillian Harris, Michael Homoya and Shane Gibson, through illustrations and text, present a captivating look into our forests’ biodiversity, showing how species depend on plants for food and help assure plant reproduction. This book celebrates some of nature’s most fascinating moments that happen in forests where we live and play.
“Detailed illustrations, lilting verses and scientific explanations make “Wake Up, Woods” an important text for anyone wanting to wake up to the wonder around them when visiting the woods. This is an excellent nature book to share with young readers and is perfect for the classroom, or to tuck in a backpack before a hike.” — Wednesday Word blog of the Indiana State Library, Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center Librarian
About the Illustrator
As a natural history illustrator and botanical artist, Gillian Harris works at the intersection of art and science: she enjoys delving into field guides and other resources to research her detailed illustrations, while appreciating how drawing or painting a subject deepens her understanding of it. Gillian earned a BA in English at Indiana University and attended graduate school at Harvard University. As a non-degree student she later studied botany at Harvard, University of Michigan, and IU. At Michigan she also studied natural science illustration, and her first project was contributing illustrations to a 12-volume animal life encyclopedia. Gillian has since illustrated field guides and gardening books, one of which she co-wrote. Her work has appeared in the journals Smithsonian in Your Classroom and The Botanical Artist and was commissioned for exhibits in the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
About the Authors
Michael A. Homoya is a botanist and plant ecologist. He works for Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves and is adjunct faculty for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He has been a botanist and plant ecologist for the Indiana DNR Natural Heritage Program since 1982. His duties include discovery and assessment of natural areas for inclusion as state dedicated nature preserves, conducting field surveys for rare species and state-significant natural communities, and updating the official Indiana list of rare, threatened, and endangered vascular plants. Current book projects are about Indiana ferns and Indiana’s early natural landscape. He teaches Indiana flora class at IUPUI.
Shane Gibson has been in education for over 20 years, writing poetry for more than 25 years, and enjoying the outdoors since birth. At an early age, Shane’s dad immersed him in nature and this immersion grew into a life-long passion for the outdoors. With degrees in environmental science and elementary education from Indiana University, Shane enjoys blending his love of the outdoors, writing, and literature. He is Environmental Education Director for Sycamore Land Trust, is former Director of Environmental Education at Bradford Woods, Indiana University’s Outdoor Center, naturalist with Indy Parks, and a classroom teacher.
Gillian Harris is a natural history illustrator and botanical artist working at the intersection of art and science. Gillian has studied at Indiana University, Harvard University, and the University of Michigan. She has illustrated field guides and garden books, and has exhibited her illustrations in zoos, botanical gardens, and at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Gillian loves to hike; one of her favorite places is the Great Smoky Mountains. She also draws inspiration from the wild plants and animals she encounters in the Great Lakes region and in her own backyard, the wooded uplands of southern Indiana.