Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Ecology Book

ecologyThe Ecology Book
Written by Jean Lightner and Tom Hennigan
Published at MasterBooks

About the book

Study the relationship between living organisms and our place in God's wondrous creation!

  • Learn important words and concepts from different habitats around the world to mutual symbiosis as a product of the relational character of God.
  • Designed with a multi-age level format especially for homeschool educational programs.
  • Examine influential Scientists and their work, more fully understand practical aspects of stewardship, and investigate ecological connections in creation!

The best-selling Wonders of Creation series adds a new biology-focused title that unveils the intricate nature of God's world and the harmony that was broken by sin.


Who are Jean Lightner and Tom Hennigan?

jean-lightnerDr. Jean Lightner is an adjunct professor with Liberty University Online. She has a B.S. in Agriculture (Animal Science major), a D.V.M., and a M.S. in veterinary preventive medicine. She has contributed numerous articles to creation journals, magazines, and websites and serves as a board member for the Creation Research Society. She is also a member of the Creation Biology Society, Christian Veterinary Mission and the National Animal Health Emergency Response Corps.tom-hennigan

Tom is an Associate Professor of Organismal Biology at Truett-McConnell College and has an A.A.S. from the New York State Forest Ranger School, a B.S. in Natural Resources Management from the University of Alaska, an M.S. in Education from Syracuse University, and an M.P.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He has taught environmental science and ecology for 18 years and teaches ecological concepts and field methods in herpetology, mammalogy, and forest ecology. He has even studied in the Galápagos. He has written for the Creation Research Society Quarterly, Answers Research Journal, Creation, Creation Illustrated and Answers Magazines.

My Thoughts

Ecology was one of my favourite subjects when I was in my first year of high school.   We had a great room with numerous samples of animals and a great teacher.   Though as we read through this book, I realized that my lessons back then were not Christian based – even though I was attending a Catholic private school.  I was looking forward to this book when I applied to be part of the review team and I am not disappointed in it.

First, I need to specify that this particular book has been written to reach students in three levels of education.  Thanks to the color coded text, you can easily identify the parts of each chapter that have been written to a specific levels – Level 1 (in white) for grades 5 & 6, Level 2 (in green) for grades 7 & 8, and finally Level 3 (in blue) for grades 9 through 11.  image  Part of the best-selling series Wonders of Creation, The Ecology Book will enable your child to

  • Study the intricate relationship between living organisms and our place in God’s wondrous creation
  • Examine important words and concepts, from different habitats around the world to our stewardship of the world’s resources
  • Gain insight into influential scientists and their work
  • Fully understand practical aspects of stewardship
  • Investigate ecological interactions and connections in creation

This book can be used in a Christian classroom, for independent study or for an homeschool setting.   In our case, I used it in our homeschool with my grade 6th student and one of siblings – a grade 3 student.   After reading two chapters, the grade 3 student thought it was too much for him while my grade 6th student thought it was interesting.  But I can see the potential of this book as we can build up the knowledge as the students advance in their studies.   In my case, I am planning to get my oldest read the book again next year with both the white and green levels.  Eventually, my three other kids will go through this book themselves but they are still too young for it (currently in grades K, 2 and 3).  

In total you will find nine chapters introducing and expanding on the subject of ecology. Here’s an idea of what the first three chapters cover.

  • Harmony in Creation
  • Ecology: The Study of “Our House”
  • The Dominion Mandate
  • What’s on the Menu Today?
  • Taking a Liking to Lichens
  • A Fungus Among Us
  • The Plant – Bacteria Connection
  • Of Bacteria, Cattle, and Men
  • The Room of the Matter
  • Doing Ecology in God’s Creation
  • Appendix A Tips for Doing Good Science Experiments
  • Appendix B Simplified Ecological Sampling Methods
  • Glossary ad Index

For this specific review, I was asked to review three chapters of the book.   Since we are using this book as part of our science curriculum right now, I thought of presenting the first three chapters.

Chapter one – Harmony in Creation

In this chapter we learned that God created the World and what is the trinity.   My kids knew some of the things presented in this chapter already but I find it a great reminded that our Creator has thought of everything when he created the world.   One thing that dawned on me was the fact that even though at the beginning the plants were our food somehow God had thought about the possibility of the Fall and how it would impact the consumption of food.

image  imageimage

Chapter two – Ecology: The Study of “Our House”

In this chapter you will learn who William Derham and Ernst Haeckel are, what the word ecology mean, where do ecologist work, how cycles exist (ex: the water cycle) and how the scientific name for animals are created.   Even though we are reading and discussing the level 1 information, we were able to get an introduction for all these in the chapter.   I particularly loved the building memories suggestions which allows a family to discover nature together.


Chapter three – The Dominion Mandate

We were made to rule the Earth and to take care of it.   In this chapter, the kids got reminded of the primary role that Adam and Eve had when living the the garden and what we need to do in order to make our world better.   We also read more about the Shepherd Kind analogy and even I learn a few things about the rod and the staff of a shepherd.  In this chapter, we also got introduced to the Make a Difference suggestions in order to keep our planet clean.     The pictures within the book are stunning and help to bring the text into perspective.   I also love the fact that this book can be used for multiple grades.   It’s fun to discover a bit more of a subject when you learn about it.    My three younger kids do stay while I read and sometimes they will ask questions.    I can see their brain working when they react to what I read or to a picture.    

As I am writing this, we are pursuing our reading of the remaining chapters in order to complete it.  I am also planning to put this book again in my oldest son next year as he will enter grade 7 and I would like him to deepen his understanding of ecology.   This time, he will have words to know and more text to read.    Reading this book with my kids makes me looking forward for the spring season where nature wakes up and more species of animals will invade it.    I would also clean up our street if possible with my kids one day.   But there is still much snow everywhere so we will wait until sometime in April to do so.

Whether used as part of our newly developed science curriculum or simply as a unique unit study, the book includes full-color photos, informative illustrations, and meaningful descriptions. The text encourages an understanding of a world designed, not as a series of random evolutionary accidents, but instead as a wondrous, well-designed system of life around the globe created to enrich and support one another.

And to complete the lessons you will find outdoor activities that will intertwine with the reading in order to make the learning experience  more alive.  This fabulous resource will allow any homeschooling families with multiple children to adapt the teaching for multi-age lessons. 

I find this book very complete and interesting to read.  Personally, it gives me a Christian perspective of what I had learned so many years ago while sitting in my ecology classroom.   It is a book that I know I won’t have to worry to put in my kids hands when they need to read their lessons.   And the fact that we have family activities included throughout the book is fabulous.  It will encourage us to go out and be good stewards of our planet.

The Ecology Book is available at your favourite bookstore, even and


Disclaimer: Thanks to New Leaf Publishing Group for sending me the PDF version of the above mentioned product for review purposes.   When the book will be published I shall receive a hard copy of it.  I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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