documenting and


natural history

and humanity

Books by Fred Schueler and Aleta Karstad

2013 - Landscape: Progress towards a philosophy of sustainable occupancy
2012 - ISLAND OF BIODIVERSITY: natural history of the North Russell shale hill
2011 - Art and Science in the South Nation Watershed
2009 [2010] - Identifying Land Snails and Slugs in Canada: Introduced Species and Native Genera
1995 - A Place to Walk, a naturalists journal of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail
1990 - Queen Charlotte Islands' Cumshewa Head Trail
1987 - Owls in North America
1985 - Wild Seasons Daybook
1979 - Canadian Nature Notebook
in preparation - Macro-invertebrates of eastern Ontario
in preparation - How to Live in Eastern Ontario


2013 [2014] - Landscape: Progress towards a philosophy of sustainable occupancy

"Landscape" is a collection of essays and other documents, written since we came home from Haida Gwaii in 1989, that are relevant to understanding human occupancy of our home municipality of North Grenville, United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Ontario, Canada. The collection originated in the meetings about the first Official Plan for the amalgamated township when Fred protested that the proposed plan seemed to be combine Third World rates of population growth and First World levels of personal income, and the mayor snapped that "You can't stop growth."

"With Fred trained in science and Aleta in art, they... search, record, create, and most of all, doubt, starting from home in the eastern Ontario village of Bishops Mills. Their planet is a world that most of us rarely see. It's a world of Upland Sandpipers, frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, Mudpuppies, fish, crayfish, land snails, aquatic molluscs, mammals, and insects. It's a real world of seemingly endless data, gathered step after step and recorded in their field notes and illustrations. It's also a world that keeps us alive... [T]hey characterize their book as 'not cast in the official framework of land-use planning in Ontario.' Okay, but in my view, as you read you discover that's not a complete picture. Over the years they have contributed fully to good government, working through the local jurisdiction and various government and NGO agencies. They have given their views on many topics including a Bill of Rights for Ontario's environment, models of land ownership, landscape herpetology, ecological considerations in planning, and into a so-called Integrated Community Sustainability Plan." David McNicoll, from the Foreword.
see the page for this book .


ISLAND OF BIODIVERSITY: natural history of the North Russell shale hill

"Island of Biodiversity" is the result of a spring of painting and exploring around the red shale hill of North Russell, east of Ottawa, and is coauthored by Candice Vetter who lives there and has been studying the place and loving it more and more for 20 years. We call it "Island of Biodiversity" because the red shale hill, although hardly perceptible as a hill in the usual sense, is an outcropping of Queenston Shale in a flat landscape of Leda clay laid down by the Champlain Sea. What makes it seem even more of an island is its ecology. Traditional farming practices have allowed trees to grow along fencerows, creeks, and ditches, corridors for biodiversity which connect with woodlots, ponds, and swamps. Chorus Frogs find refuge in several places on the red shale hill, though they've otherwise disappeared from the whole landscape of Ontario east of Ottawa.

Candice's chapters on geology, ecology, forests, water, the history of settlement, etc. are interleaved with Aleta's paintings and journals which we have drawn from this blog, and the whole book is further enriched and informed by Fred's experience with particulars and his deep understanding of how everything fits together. see the page for this book .


Art and Science in the South Nation Watershed

"In the tradition of the Group of Seven but with the eye of a naturalist, Aleta Karstad paints the Canadian landscape "au plein air." This book showcases nineteen of her jewel-like paintings from the watershed of the South Nation River in easternmost Ontario. Each is accompanied by insightful and lyrical journal entries about the experience of making each painting and about the landscape and its plants and animals. While Aleta paints, her biologist husband, Fred Schueler, makes a scientific survey of the surrounding area, giving special attention to the interactions between native and invasive species. Together, this artist/biologist team works to increase public knowledge of not only the beauty of the landscape but also its biological health and the conservation measures suggested by their observations." - for links to the original blog entries for each chapter, and background information see the page for this book .

[Identifying Land Snails and Slugs in Canada: Introduced Species and Native Genera]

Identifying Land Snails and Slugs in Canada: Introduced Species and Native Genera

Grimm, F. Wayne, Robert G. Forsyth, Frederick W. Schueler, & Aleta Karstad. 2009 [2010]. Identifying Land Snails and Slugs in Canada: Introduced Species and Native Genera. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa. iv+168 pp.
. . . or
Grimm, F. Wayne, Robert G. Forsyth, Frederick W. Schueler, & Aleta Karstad. 2009 [2010]. Identification des escargots et des limaces terrestres au Canada: Espèces introduites et genres indigènes. Agence canadienne d'inspection des alimentes. Ottawa. iv+168 pp. (translation edited by Isabelle Picard). . . . from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, at no cost, by calling 1-800-442-2342, and requesting a copy during business hours, eastern time. These are "targeted to academics, master gardeners, hobby collectors and CFIA and Canada Border Services Agency inspectors," and is the first work to treat the entire Canadian fauna of terrestrial Gastropods, and we hope that its free availability will lead to an increase of interest in the life history, ecological roles, and systematics of Canadian land snails and slugs. The supply of the English version of the first edition of this book is exhausted, but some copies of the French edition are still available. CFIA is contemplating a revision - let them know if you'd appreciate a new edition (Jan 2012).

Place to Walk, a naturalists' journal of the Lake Ontario Waterfront

A PLACE TO WALK: A Naturalists' journal of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail

Written and illustrated during an expedition through the summer of 1994, supported by the Waterfront Trust, and published by Natural Heritage/Natural History in 1995, this book is a lavishly illustrated account of a journey by foot, bicycle and canoe along a populated, misunderstood, and often surprisingly wild interface between land and water. Candid journal observations in the tradition of Elizabeth Simcoe charm and inform in surprising ways. Here is humour and adventure, but what is really established in a serious way is a detailed picture of time and place in the face of increasingly rapid changes in communities and the environment that supports them.

$24.00 contact us for availability & shipping

[Queen Charlotte Islands' Cumshewa Head Trail]


Western Canada Wilderness Committee published this charming facsimile of Karstad's original hand lettered and illustrated journal pages from three hikes which she made in 1989 along the Cumshewa Head Trail, on North Moresby Island in Haida Gwaii. With a foreword by Chief Cumshewa, two hand drawn maps, and essay, hiking times & trail instructions by John F. Wood, the hiker is well informed, and the non-hiker is inspired. This little softcover is still playing a part in the ongoing struggle to preserve oldgrowth forest.

$10.00 contact us for availability & shipping

[Owls in North America]


Part of the Canadian Album Series of nature stories for children, Owls in North America was published by Hyperion Press in 1987. Aleta Karstad and her husband Frederick W. Schueler collaborated with ornithologist and owl specialist Robert Nero in writing and illustrating this educational colouring book. Alongside natural history facts about each species and plausible stories based on personal experience and observations recorded in naturalists' field notes, Karstad's lively and detailed ink drawings bring each owl to life and invite children to colour them.

$10.00 contact us for availability, shipping, & group orders

[Wild Seasons Daybook]


Published in 1985 by Methuen and later carried by Stoddart, the hardcover perpetual diary Wild Seasons Daybook went out of print after over fifteen years of sales in bookstores and gift shops. Many people have returned for more copies and given these little books of delicate watercolours and hand lettered notations to friends and family, even sending them away to other lands as souvenirs of the nature that one sees here at close hand.

$24.00 contact us for availability & shipping

peek inside the Daybook

[Introduction to the

Introduction to the "macro" Invertebrates of Southern, especially Eastern, Ontario

Our “macro” invertebrates comprise fewer than a hundred species in total, and most are easily learned. These are big animals, and each species has as distinctive an ecological role as does any Vertebrate, so it's a valuable asset for anyone to know them as species. This manual has been compiled and revised for workshops we've given in invertebrate recognition; it's in preparation for finished publication, but is now available for download and comment.

download the 2012 edition of 'Macro-invertebrates.'

[How to Live in Eastern Ontario]

How to Live in Eastern Ontario: A guide for Human People

Many philosophers have speculated, with the example of humanity before them, that intelligent life may be an ephemeral phenomenon, because the ability to over-exploit a planet may always outstrip the wisdom required to figure out how to sustain intelligent life on the long term. This volume pulls together some of what we've written on the theme of living sustainably and wisely; it's in preparation for finished publication, but is now available for download and comment.

download the beta edition of 'How to Live.'

[Canadian Nature Notebook]


This informal ecology, richly illustrated with watercolours and drawings, was published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson in 1979 and enjoyed a long life in print until 1994. A classic in modern Canadian nature writing, Canadian Nature Notebook holds an important place on the shelves of naturalists all across the country. Although now out of print, it is still in library circulation, and we hope to sometime have it reprinted in soft cover.
To order books please phone (613)258-3107

or e-mail

or mail to Aleta Karstad
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
RR#2 Oxford Station
Ontario K0G 1T0

Illustrated Nature Journals

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