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Finch Discoveries: An inspiring Tale of Adaptation to a Changing Environment

May 19, 2016 06:47PM ● By Kirsten Gehlbach
Finch Discoveries has been called a “rare find” that brings science to life for young readers as well as anyone who loves nature. It tells the story of two interconnected journeys. One is that of Adelita, a ground finch attempting to survive in a changing landscape, and the second is the decades-long journey of scientific research by Peter and Rosemary Grant and their colleagues. A skillful blend of humor, warmth, and scientific fact, Finch Discoveries is beautifully illustrated by Bert Dodson.

The author introduces readers to the significance of slight differences in beak size, unique behaviors aimed at reproduction, and other elements that are required to survive environmental changes. From hatching to breeding, through weather extremes of drought and rainfall, and from individuals to populations, author Ginger Wallis invites readers to explore how animals adapt through the process of rapid natural selection, one of the most important discoveries to emerge from the research on finches.

Finch Discoveries is the first in a series of children’s books about how other species adapt to changes in their environments. Some are doing amazing things, and all the books are based on scientific studies. Ginger is currently at work on a project called “Thoughtful Lives” that shares stories and pearls of wisdom based on interviews with over a dozen thoughtful people, readings, and her own life experiences.

Ginger Wallis taught environmental education for more than 18 years in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. She currently teaches seventh-grade biology just across the Connecticut River in Hanover. A Gentle and Curious Path (Dancing Journey Press, 2010), an intimate window into her thoughts, emotions, and experiences with breast cancer, was her first book. She shared the finch story with her students for years before writing Finch Discoveries. Ginger lives in Thetford Center, Vermont, in a solar-powered cape in the woods.

Bert Dodson is a painter, teacher, author, and illustrator. He has illustrated over 80 books for children. He is the author of Keys to Drawing (North Light Books, 1985) and Keys to Drawing with Imagination. With noted biologist Mahlon Hoagland, he co-authored The Way Life Works (Times Books, 1995) and Intimate Strangers: The Story of Unseen Life on Earth (ASM Press, 1999, with Needam, Hoagland, and McPherson). He and his wife Zelma live in Vermont.

Finch Discoveries is available at the Norwich Bookstoreand the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, at Long River Gallery and Gifts in Lyme, and at Star Cat Bookstore in Bradford, Vermont. It may also be purchased at and

Dancing Journey Press

434 Ulman Road

Thetford Center, Vermont

(802) 785-4717

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