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Chapter I. THE AGE OF REPTILES. Its Antiquity, Duration and Significance in Geologic History. Palæontology deals with the History of Life. Its time is measured in geologic epochs and periods, in millions of years instead of centuries. Man, by this measure, is but a creature of yesterday—his "forty centuries of civilization" but a passing episode. It is by no means easy for us to adjust our perspective to the immensely long spaces... more...

INTRODUCTION This beautiful volume has been written for a good purpose. I had the pleasure of reading the proof-sheets of the book while in the Yellowstone National Park, where no gun may be lawfully fired at any of God's creatures. All animals there are becoming tame, and the great bears come out of the woods to feed on the garbage of the hotels and camps, fearless of the tourists, who look on with pleasure and wonder at such a scene. "The... more...

The Swan. The Swan is a very beautiful bird. It is generally white, though a black swan has been discovered in Australia. It is not very often seen in this country. It was brought from Asia and Eastern Europe into England—from whence, most probably, a few specimens have been introduced into this country. The Swan is very graceful in the water, but on land it is an awkward waddler.   The Coot. The Coot is generally found in large... more...

by Various
JOHN JAMES AUDUBON.   OHN JAMES AUDUBON has always been a favorite with the writer, for the invincibleness of his love of Nature and of birds is only equalled by the spontaneous freshness of his style, springing from an affectionate and joyous nature. Recently there was found by accident, in an old calf-skin bound volume, an autobiography of the naturalist. It is entitled “Audubon’s Story of his Youth,” and would make a... more...

INTRODUCTION In the preparation of a book of this nature, to be used in the grade schools, we realize that the one fundamental thing to keep in mind is the economic importance of the insect, be it good or bad. The child wants to know what is good and what is bad and how he can make use of the good and how he can get rid of the bad. And yet there is something more associated with the life, work and development of each tiny insect. There is a... more...


CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION I think that some of you have been with me at Willow Farm before to-day. When we were there we went into the farmer's fields in early spring, and saw the men and horses at work with ploughs and harrows. A little later on we saw some of the crops sown, such as barley and turnips. In summer we were in the hay-and corn-fields, and later still we saw the ricks being made.To-day we are at Willow Farm again, and I want to show... more...

WAYS OF NATURE I was much amused lately by a half-dozen or more letters that came to me from some Californian schoolchildren, who wrote to ask if I would please tell them whether or not birds have sense. One little girl said: "I would be pleased if you would write and tell me if birds have sense. I wanted to see if I couldn't be the first one to know." I felt obliged to reply to the children that we ourselves do not have sense enough to know... more...

CHAPTER 1. THE HARMAS. This is what I wished for, hoc erat in votis: a bit of land, oh, not so very large, but fenced in, to avoid the drawbacks of a public way; an abandoned, barren, sun-scorched bit of land, favoured by thistles and by Wasps and Bees. Here, without fear of being troubled by the passers-by, I could consult the Ammophila and the Sphex (two species of Digger-or Hunting-wasps.—Translator's Note.) and engage in that difficult... more...

CHAPTER I The Greatest Cataclysm in American History THE UNCONTROLLABLE FORCES OF NATURE—THE DEVASTATION OF OMAHA—THE TERROR OF THE FLOOD—A VIVID PICTURE OF THE FLOOD—THE TRAGEDY OF DEATH AND SUFFERING—THE SYMPATHY OF NATIONS—THE COURAGE OF THE STRICKEN—MEN THAT SHOWED THEMSELVES HEROES. Man is still the plaything of Nature. He boasts loudly of conquering it; the earth gives a little shiver and his... more...

PREFACE. The following lectures, drawn up under the pressure of more imperative and quite otherwise directed work, contain many passages which stand in need of support, and some, I do not doubt, more or less of correction, which I always prefer to receive openly from the better knowledge of friends, after setting down my own impressions of the matter in clearness as far as they reach, than to guard myself against by submitting my manuscript,... more...