“Suburban Safari,” by Hannah Holmes of South Portland; Bloomsbury USA; hardcover, 240 pages

Who knew that an investigation into that patch of grass in our back yards could be so fruitful – and so funny?

More than 550 square miles of new lawns unfold each year in the United States alone. Although new research shows that these lawns aren’t nearly as “unnatural” as ecologists once thought, no one has offered an accessible exploration of this novel habitat.

Until now.

Equipped with a lawn chair and her infectious curiosity, science writer Hannah Holmes spends a year on her lawn, hoping to discover exactly what’s going on out there.

Under her examination, the lawn teems with life, populated by a bewilderment of birds, a mess of mammals, and a range of plants that record the history of this little piece of ground.

As the seasons progress, she guides readers through this bustling community, inviting over biologists, ecologists, botanists, entomologists, and energy experts to further unveil the complexities of life in the ‘burbs.

She explores everything from the behavior of suburban crows and raccoons, to the way plants wage war, to the puzzle of baby pigeons (where are they?).

Holmes is a natural history and science writer from South Portland. She has written extensively for DiscoveryChannel.com and for dozens of national magazines. Her other book is titled “The Secret Life of Dust.”

“Suburban Safari” is available in all major bookstores nationwide and online. It is also available to members of Quality Paperback Bookclub and a Discover Bookclub.

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