From Cambridge, Mass., Kenn writes: Our book tour for KFG to Nature of New England will take us through all 6 New England states, October 16-30, with public programs, book signings, media interviews, store visits, etc., so we're going to be somewhat busy for the next two weeks. Our friends Taryn, Lisa, and Katrina at the publishing company, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, decided that we weren't going to be quite busy enough, so they suggested a challenge: "Why don't you try to identify 350 species of living things while you're traveling through New England?"
As evidence of how crazy we are, Kim and I immediately said Yes to the idea. Why not, indeed? New England is loaded with natural wonders; and even in late October, past the main season for butterflies and flowers, after many birds have flown south, we are still going to see a lot of nature over the course of 15 days. So that's our listing challenge: the Book Tour Big 350!
We arrived in Boston late at night on the 15th, and on the 16th we were running around to 4 different stops, but on the fly we were identifying trees along the roadside at 55 mph: "Look! Eastern White Pine!" "There's an Eastern Sycamore!" "Hey! Shagbark Hickory!" And of course we were seeing birds along the way: not only Herring Gulls and House Sparrows, but a variety of other things like Hairy Woodpecker and Brown Creeper when we pulled into the Mass Audubon center at Drumlin Farm at dusk. We decided that we could certainly count anything we heard, so calling Carolina Wrens and Northern Cardinals made the list. After one day, we have names of birds and trees and weeds scribbled on pieces of paper and we haven't been able to count them up yet (we have to be at a school this morning to give a program at 8 a.m.!) but we think we must be close to 75 species already. Wish us luck!