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Explore the Outdoors (SC)

Delight your senses and nourish your spirit by getting out into nature.

Welcome out!

What can nature do for you?

According to Dr. Qing Li, author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness:

The key to unlocking the power of the forest is in the five senses. Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet. Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the leaves of the trees. Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches. Smell the fragrance of the forest and breathe in the natural aromatherapy of phytoncides. Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths. Place your hands on the trunk of a tree. Dip your fingers or toes in a stream. Lie on the ground. Drink in the flavor of the forest and release your sense of joy and calm. This is your sixth sense, a state of mind. Now you have connected with nature. You have crossed the bridge to happiness.


What can you do in nature?

Hike the trails for exercise or mindfulness, with friends or solo

Practice shinrin-yoku, or forest-bathing

Take up birding, perhaps as a member of the Swarthmore Bird Club

Spot critters and learn to identify their tracks and scat. Beavers, coral snakes, and dozens of bird species call Crum Woods their home.

Experiment with nature photography

Become an amateur mycologist (but don't eat any mushrooms you find without expert guidance :) )

Join the world’s largest treasure-hunting community with Pennsylvania Geocaching Trails and Maps 

Use the digital checklist of select animal and plant groups in the Crum Woods Biodiversity Guide optimized for printing. Just remember, if you bring it in with you, bring it out when you leave. 

Upload pictures of flora and fauna for positive identification into this crowd-sourced digital catalog to help grow knowledge and community.

Reserve Crumhenge and request a bonfire permit. Send your burning questions to

What resources does the library have to explore the great outdoors?

Cornell Library houses items to aid and enhance your outdoor experience, including:

  • High-powered binoculars
  • Loupes/hand lenses (mini-magnifying glasses)
  • Field microscopes + slide kit
  • Field guides

Ask at the circulation desk, and take these tools along on your hike.

To get started, check out some of the books and field guides in the libraries' collection

Nature's Temples

An impassioned case for the importance of ancient forests and their preservation Standing in an old-growth forest, you can instinctively sense the ways it is different from forests shaped by humans. These ancient, undisturbed ecosystems are increasingly rare and largely misunderstood. Nature's Temples explores the science and alchemy of old-growth forests and makes a compelling case for their protection. Many foresters are proponents of forest management, while ecologists and conservation biologists believe that the healthiest forests are those we leave alone.

Nature Is Nurture

Ecotherapy, a steadily developing but lesser-known construct in mental health, explores the reciprocal relationship humans have with nature and its capacity to build strength and provide healing. Nature Is Nurture provides an overview of the theoretical concepts and empirical bases of ecotherapy via historical considerations and recent research within the discipline.

How to Do Nothing

After the American presidental election of 2016, Jenny Odell felt so overstimunated and disoriented by information, misinformation, and the expressions of others, that reality itself seemed to slip away. How To Do Nothing is her action plan for resistance. Drawing on the ethos of tech culture, a background in the arts, and personal storytelling, Jenny Odell makes a powerful argument for refusal: refusal to believe that our lives are instruments to be optimised. She argues that nothing can be quite so radical as doing... nothing.

Birding While Indian

Thomas C. Gannon's Birding While Indian spans more than fifty years of childhood walks and adult road trips to deliver, via a compendium of birds recorded and revered, the author's life as a part-Lakota inhabitant of the Great Plains. Great Horned Owl, Sandhill Crane, Dickcissel: such species form a kind of rosary, a corrective to the rosaries that evoke Gannon's traumatic time in an Indian boarding school in South Dakota, his mother's devastation at racist bullying from coworkers, and the violent erasure colonialism demanded of the people and other animals indigenous to the United States. Birding has always been Gannon's escape and solace. He later found similar solace in literature, particularly by Native authors. He draws on both throughout this expansive, hilarious, and humane memoir. 

Forest Bathing: The Rejuvenating Practice of Shinrin Yoku

Shinrin Yoku: "taking in the forest atmosphere," the medicine of simply being in the forest, "forest bathing." This book offers guidelines for finding peace and replenishment in any space 'from turning off your phone to seeking the irregularities in nature, which in turn can make us less critical of ourselves. It offers tips not only on being fully present and mindful while in the forest, but also on how to tap into that mindfulness at home even if home is the busiest and most crowded of cities.

Braiding Sweetgrass

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing.

The Nature Fix

From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature's positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas--and the answers they yield--are more urgent than ever.

The Plants of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, a state of diverse geography and geology, is rich in flora. Developed in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Flora Project, and compiled by botanists at the Morris Arboretum, the official arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the second edition of The Plants of Pennsylvania is the authoritative guide to Pennsylvania's plant life. It will be indispensable to taxonomists, conservationists, ecologists, foresters, land planners, teachers, agricultural county agents, students, and amateur naturalists.

The Birds of Pennsylvania

From Eared Grebes, Tundra Swans, and Peregrine Falcons to Lesser Yellowlegs, and Snowy Owls, Pennsylvania is home to a magnificent array of birds. In the first comprehensive summary and analysis in over a century of the birds of that state, Gerald M. McWilliams and Daniel W. Brauning provide a wealth of information for both the professional ornithologist and the amateur birder. This book treats all 428 species seen in the state, including breeding and wintering birds, migrants, and vagrants. Each entry provides the general status of a species; the locations where it is most commonly found; its natural habitat, migratory patterns, breeding habits, and seasonal status and distribution; and a summary of the bird's history in Pennsylvania. With clear descriptions of physiographic regions as well as 44 breeding distribution maps for the most commonly seen birds and 67 photographs of many rare and hard-to-find species, this volume is an indispensable resource about Pennsylvania's bird life.

Butterflies of Pennsylvania

Winner of the 2017 National Outdoor Book Award, Nature Guidebook category. How do you tell a Striped Hairstreak butterfly from a Regal Fritillary butterfly? By using Butterflies of Pennsylvania, the most comprehensive, user-friendly field guide to date of all of the species ever recorded within Pennsylvania's 46,056 square miles. Over 900 brilliant color photographs illustrate both the upper and under side of male and female specimens of each species, including skippers. Information on distinguishing marks, traits, wingspan, habitat, larval host plants, and handy facts offer assistance for field identification. The images depict the species in their native environments, as well as finely detailed museum-quality mounted specimens. County-by-county maps show where each species has been recorded within the state, and graphs detail when they are present and most likely to be seen.

Trees of Pennsylvania Field Guide

Make tree identification in Pennsylvania even more enjoyable! Now tree identification is simple and productive. 117 species--only Pennsylvania trees! No need to look through dozens of photos of trees that don't grow in Pennsylvania. Fact-filled information and stunning, professional photographs. Easy-to-use thumb tabs showing leaf type and attachment and compare feature showing average tree height.

Field Guide to Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic

Bill Russell's Field Guide to the Wild Mushrooms of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic helps the reader learn just that--specifically for the often-neglected East Coast mushrooms of the United States and Canada. Suited to both the novice and the experienced mushroom hunter, this book helps the reader identify mushrooms with the use of illustrations, descriptions, and environmental observations. Russell's fifty years of experience in hunting, studying, and teaching about wild mushrooms have been carefully distilled into this easy-to-use and well-designed guide.

Pennsylvania Hiking Trails

Details about and photographs of dozens of parks across the state, including options in and around Philadelphia.