As we inch toward summer, here’s something to consider. You might be astonished by the number of shell collectors who have no idea that animals created their beautiful finds, and once called them home. There’s a disconnect which leaves them considering these objects as mere decorations. Even those who do know that the clam, scallop or whelk shell once had an owner, many often don’t know much about that life. Leading people to better understand and appreciate what they collect from the shore is but one reason author Anna Marlis Burgard wrote The Beachcomber’s Companion: An Illustrated Guide to Collecting and Identifying Beach Treasures.
Beachcombing is a simple pleasure; the scanning of the surf line, along with the sounds of the waves and wind, helps create a sort of hypnotic state, releasing whatever else might be on our minds. The treasures we find are all pieces of an ocean’s story; the shoreline is the introduction where we meet some of its characters and are given clues to its far-reaching communities. The Beachcomber’s Companion is a charming illustrated guide for collecting and identifying shells and many other objects tossed ashore by the waves. The perfect summer hostess gift, it’s a must for every coastal home.
Each of the entries for bivalves, gastropods, echinoderms, crustaceans, and more includes fascinating descriptions, fun facts, and detailed artwork that makes it easy for readers to identify their own beach discoveries and understand more about the creatures that called them home. A handy resource section offers tips on how to prepare before setting out on a shoreline adventure, including the beachcomber’s commandments, must-have items for every collecting toolkit, and advice on cleaning and preserving shells.
Awash with information and gorgeous watercolor illustrations, this is an essential companion for all who love the ocean’s shore.
Anna Marlis Burgard is an author, photographer and lifelong beachcomber. The founder of IslandsofAmerica.com her work has been featured on Atlas Obscura, BBC Radio NPR The New Yorker, Spirituality & Practice, Celebrated Living, Roadfood.com, Town & Country, USA Today Yahoo! Travel. Anna lives on Tybee Island in Georgia.
“I’ve picked up salty souvenirs since I could walk, as my parents took our tribe to islands for summer vacations,” says Anna. “Decades later, I’ve visited more than 100 U.S. islands for my project Islands of America: A River, Lake and Sea Odyssey, including some in Connecticut.
“Enders Island is a favorite; the shells weighing down the prayers on the altar in the Seaside Chapel there is one of my favorite visuals,” says Anna.
To write this book, in addition to sharing some of my favorite experiences and stories, Anna worked with scientists from the Smithsonian, the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, Conchologists of America, and coastal state parks, along with avid collectors of everything from sea glass to message bottles to arrowheads.
“Loaded with interesting information, charming anecdotes, and useful hints, Burgard’s Companion does a fine job of helping beachcombers both understand and appreciate their treasures.” — Dr. David L. Pawson, Emeritus Senior Scientist | Smithsonian National Museum Of Natural History
This pretty, accessible volume is for shell collectors, beach dwellers and coastal decor lovers alike–and is a perfect summer hostess gift. While it’s full of useful facts for the curious, it’s also conversational, and touches on the magic of being by the ocean.
A number of Connecticut shops will be carrying the book and it’s available online.