Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats: Urban Ecology, Community Science, and How We Share Our Cities by Cylita Guy is an absolutely awesome read. I had a poorly formatted Kindle ARC and was still blown away. Right before writing this review I got the opportunity to see a finished copy and the formatting is great. But the text alone made this read so worth my time.

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The summary, from Amazon:

Gripping narrative non-fiction with STEM and social justice themes that proves cities can be surprisingly wild places—and why understanding urban nature matters.

What can city bees tell us about climate change? How are we changing coyote behavior? And what the heck is a science bike? Featuring the work of a diverse group of eleven scientists—herself included!—Dr. Cylita Guy shows how studying urban wildlife can help us make cities around the world healthier for all of their inhabitants. In the process, Guy reveals how social injustices like racism can affect not only how scientists study city wildlife, but also where urban critters are likelier to thrive. Sidebars include intriguing animal facts and the often-wacky tools used by urban ecologists, from a ratmobile to a bug vacuum. Cornelia Li’s engaging illustrations bring the scientists’ fieldwork adventures to life, while urban ecology challenges encourage readers to look for signs of wildlife in their own neighborhoods.

Buy Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats here.

Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats discusses how we share our living spaces with animals and how scientists, including citizen scientists, study them and why they do so. This was such an interesting read that will appeal to kids in rural, suburban, and rural areas. Living in NYC, I really saw the relevancy to the community I live and work in and the kids I interact with. I have always loved learning about bats, but I also liked learning about the other animals included.
One thing that really stood out to me was listing important terms in the front of the book rather than in a glossary. We don’t always know that a book has a glossary and might not realize until the end that there were definitions for these new words. I also liked that each chapter had an ecology chapter for kids. Most importantly, I appreciated the inclusion that different socioeconomic factors like redlining and environmental gentrification can play a part in the ecology of an area, and how less data is collected in low-income and BIPOC communities. Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats also talks about the racial bias others have towards Black and Indigenous scientists as well as other scientists of color.
Overall, this is a 5 star read perfect for anyone curious about animals and ecology.

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Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats: Urban Ecology, Community Science, and How We Share Our CitiesChasing Bats and Tracking Rats: Urban Ecology, Community Science, and How We Share Our Cities by Cylita Guy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The format of my eARC was not so good, but the content in this one is STELLAR!!

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Book Club Questions

  1. What can you do to study the ecology of your area?
  2. Did you participate in any of the challenges in this book?
  3. What’s your favorite wild animal that you share your city or living space with?

Interested? Buy Chasing Bats and Tracking Rats.
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