Dr. Eli Knapp, assistant professor of intercultural studies, biology, and earth science at Houghton College, recently published a book of collected essays titled The Delightful Horror of Family Birding: Sharing Nature with the Next Generation.
Delightful Horror spans a five-year period in Knapp’s life, humorously intertwining his experiences as an avid bird watcher, professor, director of Houghton’s East Africa program, and father. The thematically arranged book chronicles ornithology (birding) expeditions around the world, family learning opportunities, and Knapp’s ruminations on life’s complexities as experienced through the eyes of an avid lover of nature. His interest and draw to Africa appears frequently throughout the book – a continent which, as noted in the introduction, “has shaped my family mightily over the years, luring us back ... Africa first called us as students and now as professors.”
“A few special authors along my journey have inspired me to get outside and embrace nature in different ways,” remarks Knapp. “I wanted to do the same for others. But I quickly learned that life, especially in the hectic years of raising young children, rarely affords long, unbroken moments to write. Rather than wait for my kids to grow up, I decided to take advantage of the unique ways they experience the natural world. … This compendium of short essays reflects my attempts at enjoying nature through their eyes and the eyes of my students.”
The Delightful Horror of Family Birding: Sharing Nature with the Next Generation, published by Torrey House Press,is slated for release at the end of October and is available for pre-order on the publisher’s website, Amazon.com, and other online retailers.