Sibley Lecture For The Birds … And The Trees

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by Michele S. Byers, executive director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

Here’s a chance to meet one of our era’s most significant authors and artists of the natural world.  The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum of Short Hills is sponsoring a free lecture at Drew University on Tuesday, Sept. 22, by nationally renowned birder, author and artist David Allen Sibley. Writers, artists, bird watchers, tree-huggers and outdoor lovers won’t want to miss this event!

Sibley is the author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, considered by many to be the most comprehensive field identification guide for North American birds.  His new book – The Sibley Guide to Trees – applies the same winning format to trees.

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It would be fair to say that ornithology is in Sibley’s blood.  His father was Yale University ornithologist Fred Sibley, and David began bird-watching in childhood.  He first started drawing birds at the age of seven.  While leading nature tours in the 1980s and 90s, Sibley found existing field guides too limited.  For example, none offered illustrations of alternate or juvenile plumages of birds.

Though largely self-taught as a bird illustrator, Sibley nonetheless created his own illustrated field guide.  In all, he now has a dozen publications, including Sibley’s Birding Basics, field guides to eastern and western American birds, The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior and more.

Sibley even recognized New Jersey’s extraordinary birding region of Cape May, drawing on over a dozen years of birding experience there when publishing The Birds of Cape May in 1993 and revising it in 1997.

His comprehensive guides have helped make Sibley the fastest selling bird guide author in history.  The New York Times even once compared his influence in the birding community to that of John James Audubon and Roger Tory Peterson.

In The Sibley Guide to Trees, the author uses the same formula that makes his bird guides so helpful:  meticulous, exquisitely detailed paintings (more than 4,100 in this volume!), rich information about tree identification condensed down to make it more usable, and a logical, accessible format.

The Guide covers more than 600 native and introduced North American tree species, highlighting their often subtle similarities and distinctions.  More information on tree identification is contained here than has ever before been collected in a single book!

The Cora Hartshorn Arboretum invites you to enjoy Sibley’s lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, at the Drew University Dorothy Young Center for the Arts Concert Hall in Madison.  Sibley will speak on “The Art of Identification,” and will also take questions and sign books.

Don’t miss this great opportunity!  You can get more details or reserve seats by calling the Hartshorn Arboretum at 973-376-3587, e-mailing info@hartshornarboetum.org, or visiting its website at www.hartshornarboretum.org.

And I hope you will consult New Jersey Conservation Foundation’s website at www.njconservation.org or contact me at info@njconservation.org, if you would like more information about conserving New Jersey’s precious land and natural resources.


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