“A Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities,” by John Moriarty, photography by Siah St. Clair, University of Minnesota Press, 2018, $29.95.

The metro area is rich in parks and open spaces featuring prairies, forests and wetlands, each with an array of its own wild creatures and plant life.

Thanks to this recently published field guide we can draw on a naturalist’s perspective to add to our outdoor experiences. Two of the Twin Cities’ most knowledgeable naturalists, John Moriarty and Siah St. Clair, collaborated to produce this handy book. Drop it into a backpack, choose a metro park and experience it as a naturalist would, seeing the connections between plants and animals and their habitats. Instead of focusing only on birds, or spring ephemerals, or mushrooms or mammals, as many other guides do, this one invites us to observe a broad swath of the natural world.

The easy-to-read text is the work of Moriarty, Three Rivers Park District’s senior wildlife manager. St. Clair, retired director of Fridley’s Springbrook Nature Center, contributed the photos. Their book is a great guide to 36 public spaces, organized by habitat (prairies, lakes, wetlands, woods, etc.) and can just as easily be used around the neighborhood.