Guide to the Creatures in Your Neighbourhood

In 2020, I joined the Urban Field Naturalist Project, along side Field Philosopher Thom van Dooren, ecologists Dieter Hochuli and John Martin, and fellow designer Andrew Burrell. The project provides resources to help people notice wildlife in urban environments, and turn these observations into shareable stories. In 2022 we published an eclectic book A Guide to the Creatures in Your Neighbourhood, combining: a history of the naturalist tradition and thoughts on how we can reimagine this tradition for the 21st Century, keeping the best parts of exploring nature with a sense of awe and wonder, without the worst parts – colonial exploitation and extractivism; illustrated guides to appreciating creatures we commonly encounter in Australian cities, from birds to snails to bats; a section of nature writing and sketching activities to foster a nature journaling practice, and a collection of stories submitted from the community.

Writing the book was a team effort, and I designed and illustrated the volume to bring a playful and informative visual dimension to the combination of environmental humanities and ecological science within.

Publisher’s Blurb:

Tune in to the richness and diversity in your local environment with this playful, quirky guide that’s packed with interactive projects, nature writing and sketching activities. Combining science with art, philosophy, and storytelling, the book aims to cultivate a sense of wonder and appreciation for our remarkable natural world.In cities and suburbs all over Australia, a staggering array of animals and plants make their homes among us. If we pay attention, each encounter with a bird, a flower or a bee is an invitation into a fascinating world of growth, decay, communication and sensation – and it’s all going on right under our noses.

Did you know crows can identify humans by their faces? Or that ibises can ‘see’ with the tips of their bills? Let the team from the Urban Field Naturalist Project amaze you with weird and wonderful facts about cockatoos, magpies, spiders, possums and other animals just outside your doorstep. Then get inspired to cultivate a deeper connection with tips for observing, sketching, photographing and making field notes – or simply sitting still to observe and listen. Whether for an afternoon of exploring or a walk to the letterbox, A Guide to the Creatures in Your Neighbourhood is your ticket to slow down and get curious about urban nature. No matter where you live, you’ll have a front row seat! Full of illustrations, stories from the community and with a glossary like no other you’ve encountered, it’s everything you need to become an urban field naturalist.