If you’re just tuning in, I’m choosing a book or two each week from my bookshelf to recommend to you while we’re all cooped up.  Last week we traveled to Montana. This week I thought we’d come back home.

Henry David Thoreau observed that despite being educated about the world at large, most of us are ignorant about what goes on in our own backyards. By way of a remedy, Tony Hiss and Christopher Meier wrote H2O: Highlands to Ocean, an effort to help us know our backyard and to explore the idea of living regionally.

The H2O Region named and explored in this book is the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area from the Highlands to the Atlantic Ocean, an area centered on the Raritan River, the lower Hudson River, and the New York/New Jersey Harbor.

This area is typically thought of in the context of New York City. People may be surprised to discover the natural history, unique landscapes, and diverse communities of this vibrant region.  It’s no secret that the area around New York City is a huge metropolitan area, with hundreds of years of human development.  But the scale of preserved natural areas, and the incredible efforts to protect the region’s vital forests, fields, and waterways may be news.

You don’t judge a book by its cover do you?  At first glance, H2O: Highlands to Ocean might appear to be impersonating a technical report.  It’s not.  It’s a lively, well written look at the nature and humanity of a region that is world-famous but not well known; even by many for whom it is our backyard.

I’m grateful to the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for publishing this window into our region.  The Dodge Foundation also provides financial support to my employer, Raritan Headwaters.  Think me biased if you must, but read this book anyway.

Good health and good reading!


Bill’s Bookshelf: “A Sand Country Almanac”
Bill’s Bookshelf: “Rural Hours”
Bill’s Bookshelf: “The Raritan River: Our Landscape, Our Legacy”
Bill’s Bookshelf: “Sick Puppy”
Bill’s Bookshelf: “A River Runs Through It”