Summary: Wild DFW by Amy Martin is a beautiful love letter to not only the nature in and around Dallas / Fort Worth, but also the people and organizations that exist to support and protect it. A member of the Master Naturalists, she provides a master class of the local geography, and the plants and animal life you may encounter while enjoying it. She also provides a roadmap of just some of the adventures to be had in the area, some of which I’ve also written about, but many are still on my To Do list. If you want a detailed and enjoyable resource about North Texas Nature, this is an essential purchase. This book would also make a lovely gift for the nature lovers in your life! It truly has everything you’ll want to know about the nature in and around DFW.
Full Review: Wild DFW by Amy Martin is an amazing resource for the nature lovers of North Texas. While there have been a few Trail Guides published that highlight some of the trails in and around the area, I’ve not encountered anything quite like this book whenever I’ve looked for resources about the nature around us. This book is so many things. It’s part textbook about the topography and biomes that permeate the area. It’s part nature guide of the kinds of animals and plants you’ll hopefully encounter as you explore that topography. Finally, it provides details about adventures she’s had, that you can then follow. There’s so much in this book worth exploring!
When I first started this site, I did a lot of google research to find new places to explore. I’d been to the normal spots over and over (Cedar Ridge Preserve, Arbor Hills), and was looking for new spots to explore. As part of that research I often found Amy’s articles on GreenSourceDFW. She had an extensive series on the Trinity Forest, and other articles that opened my eyes to new places to visit. One day I got an email from her out of the blue, she’d found mysite, and wanted to go hike with me. We met up near the old Alton Bridge by Lake Lewisville and started exploring. Since then we’ve gone on a few more hikes together, including the Texas Buckeye Trails, Trinity Trail at Lake Lavon, and Cottonwood Creek Preserve. Every hike we’ve been on has not just been educational, but also an adventure!
This is a beautifully constructed book. From the eye catching cover, to the gorgeous layouts and photographs contained within, this is a feast for the eyes. I’ve mentioned that there are several other hiking guides available, but they don’t hold a candle to the views captured within Wild DFW. The layouts enhance the text, drawing you in and increasing your interest.
The book is divided into three main sections: Natural History & Ecology, A Field Guide, and Adventures.
- The Natural History section covers the ecoregions that make up our area, from Blackland Prairies to the Eastern Cross Timbers to the Post Oak Savannah. Amy writes about the importance of the Trinity River and its various forks, and how it has shaped the land. She also talks about how our weather has shaped the geography, and the impact of invasive species to our area. There are a lot of details contained within this book, and it’s written in a very easy to approach way. This is no boring text book, and as mentioned above, the details and facts are all punctuated by beautiful photos to illustrate her points.
- The Field Guide section covers all the critters and plants you may encounter along your adventures! Some of whom I’ve encountered with Amy on our hikes (we tend to run into wild hogs)! This is a great resource, again with photographs and drawings of creatures as disparate as armadillo, white tailed deer, various spiders and bees, snakes, and hawks. Amy provides facts about each animal, including where you may find them, what they like to eat, and interesting tidbits about the species. Did you know that the box turtle female can lay fertile eggs for up to four years after mating? Now you do! There is also a lengthy section about the plants, vines and trees that you’ll see in the area. This is a section I need to study up on, I have a hard time differentiating a pecan tree from an oak tree, even though we have pecan trees in our yard
- The Adventures section bears the closest resemblance to this site, although she takes a very different tactic in her 25 adventures. Rather than just describe the trails like I do, she tells a story about her visit and the people who have accompanied her. Whether it is local Master Naturalists, or the people who have developed and protected these nature preserves, the adventures detailed in this book are stories not merely a travelogue. These adventures talk about the history of the area, what you should keep an eye out for while experiencing them, and naming the important local volunteers and nature enthusiasts who ensure that these adventures remain available to everyone.
All in all, Wild DFW is a beautiful love letter to not only the local nature that surrounds, us, but also to the people who support and bolster and protect that nature. This is the first time that I’ve felt compelled to write about and promote a book, but I want everyone to know about and be able to appreciate the work and care that went into Wild DFW. I hope you find as much joy in the pages of Wild DFW as I did, and unearth the treasures within these pages—your ticket to finding the beautiful nature that surrounds us is here!
Here is a link to where you can find a copy of Wild DFW. Also, I don’t receive any financial benefits from sales of the book.