Lessons from the Sand by Charles and Orrin Pilkey
ORRIN PILKEY IS professor emeritus of earth sciences at Duke University. Charles Pilkey is a North Carolina artist and writer. The father and son duo have combined their knowledge and skills to offer an amazing new book on many aspects of what one can find and do on a Carolina beach. The stated intent is to provide information and activities for children and parents to explore together in order to appreciate and protect our beaches.
The first chapter deals with waves, explaining how to determine wave height with a focus on the relation between wind and waves. One interesting part of this book is the activities suggested for physically testing the lessons provided such as throwing an orange into the surf to determine how fast the longshore currents are. There is also a helpful explanation of rip currents with a guide as to how to escape one.
Chapter two is concerned with moving beaches, a long time interest of Orin Pilkey. This section of the book explains the Beaufort Wind Scale and importance of sand dunes in protection against erosion. A suggested activity is to search for ancient shorelines such as the Minnesott Ridge near Havelock. Beach erosion and island migration are given attention here.
Chapter three is about sand with an in-depth look at a grain of sand. Children will enjoy the activity on “barking sand’ and learning that all sand does not bark alike. Chapter four continues the study by discovering beach ripples, sand volcanos and sand blisters. The activity here is for the young with some help to examine the “layer cake beach’ to discover riddles below the surface.
From a thorough section on shells to searching for fossils “Lessons from the Sand” is the perfect guide to the rich natural treasures along the coast. The chapter on birds is both thorough and colorful with great illustrations. The chapter on coastal plants also features excellent drawings. Children will find interesting the murder mystery where they are led to identify the killer of a mollusk.
Any person with curiosity will want to take this book to the beach with them. It is a fun and clever way to discover and explore. From hands-on activities to thought provoking looks at how we need to protect our beaches the Pilkeys have created a gem of a nature guide.
Emerald Isle Books