Bay Nature magazineOctober-December 2007


Book Review: Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions

October 1, 2007

Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, by Arthur M. Shapiro and Tim Manolis, UC Press, 2007, 359 pages, $18.95

That butterflies are interesting comes as no surprise—they are charismatic, colorful, and often easy to spot. So it’s a simple task to convince us that butterflies are worth looking for. But this book goes much further than persuading us to notice these remarkable insects. In his informative and entertaining introduction, Shapiro exhorts us all to become “butterfly workers.” There’s citizen science waiting to be done, and this guide is ready to help us get to it. “Don’t just sit there,” Shapiro writes. “Do it.”

He certainly has. Insights from decades in the field inform chapters on butterfly biology, identification, and classification. The species accounts themselves, the functional core of the book, often read like mini-essays, much more than simple identifications. Manolis’s illustrations are detailed and useful and combine with the text to make a solid reference and an inspiring call to get into the field. [Dan Rademacher]

About the Author

Dan was editor of Bay Nature from 2004 until 2013, when he left to work for SF-based Stamen Design. He is now executive director of GreenInfo Network, a nonprofit mapmaking organization. A onetime professional cabinetmaker, he considers himself a lifelong maker of things and teller of stories. Dan has been working at the intersection of journalism and technology since, at age 16, he began learning reporting, page layout, and database design. His enduring interest in environmental issues crystallized into a career path in 1998 when he assisted former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass in a cross-disciplinary nature writing and ecology course at UC Berkeley, from which Dan received a Masters in English literature. In 1999, he became Associate Editor of Terrain, the erstwhile quarterly magazine of Berkeley's Ecology Center. In addition to editing and art-directing Bay Nature magazine, he was also Bay Nature’s chief technology strategist, fixer of broken things, and designer of databases and fancy spreadsheets. And he was even known to leave the office and actually hike outdoors.