Fun fact: my father is a soil scientist. Which means that I grew up around rocks and dirt. In addition to spending family vacations hiking and camping, a great deal of my childhood involved accompanying my dad (and often his graduate students) on field trips to dig soil pits in order to study the various soil layers. Also included in my childhood were field trips to Christmas tree farms, T-shirts with silly songs about soil on the back (and yes, you can purchase your own T-shirt right here if you’d like to show your support for Wisconsin’s state soil, the Antigo silt loam), greeting my dad at the airport after his annual six-week trips to Antarctica (he brought back the best souvenirs: brilliant opals from Antarctica, penguin and koala toys, exotic storybooks from his layovers in Christ Church, New Zealand, stories about camping out in the field for weeks on end), and visiting my dad’s lab where we would admire the rock samples and count the age of trees from slices of their trunks. When I was in middle school I knew how to measure the height of a tree, how to take a core sample from trees and the soil, and how to dig a latrine in the forest.
So when my friend Jessica Pigza, a rare books librarian at the New York Public Library, asked me to contribute to her fabulous Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guilde to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects my very first thoughts jumped to soil profile maps and geological maps. I find the whole national park aesthetic weirdly inspiring. Maybe it’s a little Wes Anderson influence, I don’t know. But I knew I wanted to do something along those lines, so I asked Jessica to pull some materials in that vein.