Speak softly and carry a camera

That's partly why, in addition to articles that focus on specific creatures (the black rat snake or the moose, for example), Danielson also writes about the experience of being in nature with pieces concerning spring rains or his trips to John Burroughs' cabin in the Catskills. Even in these, he still works in plenty of information so the reader always leaves enlightened.

It's the real-life spirit of the columns that keeps readers coming back for more, though. One of Danielson's most popular recent topics has been Lionel, a chickadee with a deformed beak that has been visiting his home feeder. Danielson keeps his readers updated on the bird's comings and goings through his website and column, often to his readers' rapt attention.

"You wouldn't believe the fan mail that guy got," he said.

Though he's always kept journals, Danielson did not start off as a writer. After graduating from college, he went to work with the National Park Service as a law enforcement ranger stationed in Sandy Hook, N.J. Though this was not the most picturesque posting, it did provide him with his first set of photography equipment after a camera bag washed up on shore after a hurricane.

In a way, writing about nature is an extension of the protection duties he had as a forest ranger, Danielson said.

"If they know more about something, then they'll care about it and want to preserve it," he said.

He hopes to further that mission in his day job as a teacher of biology and physics at Pittsfield High School in Vermont.

Danielson will be at The Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza on Saturday, March 26, at 3 p.m., to celebrate the official New York release of his book and to sign copies. He'll also be at the Guilderland Library's "Discover the Great Outdoors" program providing a slideshow and book signing Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.""

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