Ecologists have an innate love for nature, but you can't "gift" them nature, can you? You can get close. This list has seven unique, lovable items that an ecologist or ecology student will cherish. You won't find punny joke mugs or tacky t-shirts.
Whether it’s a graduation gift for a student, birthday present or Christmas gift, I hope this gift guide helps you finish your gift shopping faster than ever and brings a smile to an ecologist's face. Show them you understand their passion for ecology and support them when they geek out over your perfect gift.
This list is a compilation of my favorites from around the internet. Some are our own Genius Lab Gear inventions and some we’re just jealous we didn’t think of first! Some external links in this page are from affiliates, which means that any purchase of the items after clicking the link will result in a small monetary referral fee paid back to Genius Lab Gear at no cost to you. We appreciate your support which allows us to continue inventing and testing the best tools for scientists on the planet!
1. Funny Ecology-themed Word Magnets
We recently launched a full line of science-themed word magnets and of course made a set specifically for ecologists! Each specialty pack comes with 144 tiles carefully designed by a PhD in that field for technical accuracy and tacit absurdity. The ecology set was co-designed by two PhDs specializing in marine ecology and plant ecology to make sure it covers all of the kingdom of nature. They go really well on the office refrigerator or magnetic surfaces at your desk to have some fun with your colleagues.
2. rOtring or Staedtler Mechanical Pencil
Mechanical pencils are indispensable while doing field work and there's not a pencil sharpener in sight. Ecologists often sketch drawings and using a pen creates a mess with any errors. More than ever now, field work is also requiring digital tablets.
That’s why my new favorite is the rOtring 800 Retractable Mechanical Pencil, (0.5 mm). This one turns from a pencil to a stylus on the fly, and also ensures the tip isn’t poking holes in your pocket all day like most other models. This is truly the top-end mechanical pencil for field work and will make a special gift.
Staedtler is another brand much-loved by professionals. This model is cheaper and will last a long time, but just isn’t convertible to a stylus. You can’t go wrong with either one.
3. The Pocket Engineer Wallet Ruler and Photogrammetric Scale
We technically designed this for engineers but many researchers have started using it for field work in ecology, biology and geology. The checkerboard pattern is a photogrammetric scale, which lets you accurately scale an image back in your office when this card is placed next to the specimen you're studying. It lets you accurately record the length of a tree frog, the diameter of a mushroom, or the size of a paw print, digitally.
The laser-cut and laser-engraved stainless steel has a thick black enamel coating to prevent scratching and stand up to years of abuse. One of the best cheap gadget gifts that any ecologist will geek out over. You can order directly through our site or on Amazon with the links below.
4. Rocketbook Flip cloud-connected reusable paper notebook
This notebook is amazing for field work and it's fully reusable, which eco-conscious ecologists will love. Rocketbook finally solved the problem of merging your hand-written notes into your favorite digital services. You simply use their app to take a photo of your pages of notes and the QR code and marked symbols on each page trigger the app to send the digitized page to any of the 9 pre-set digital destinations you choose. This includes OneNote, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox and even specific emails. Want a shortcut to send notes via email straight to your colleague or boss? This is what you’re looking for.
The Rocketbook Flip is best for ecologists because it's sized correctly for field work. It's got 36 reusable pages: Use their "Pilot Frixion" pens and then wipe the page with a damp cloth after uploading your notes to use it all over again (and win one for the environment!).
5. GIANT Microbes Animal Kingdom Plushes
This next one may seem like a young child's toy, but we've seen many PhD's purchase and love these to death. This amazing company makes a full line of plush microbes, cells and exotic animals the size of a small stuffed animal! The best one for ecologists is the Animal Kingdom set, which includes something from every walk of life.
6. Cognitive Surplus Ecology Pocket Notebooks
7. Best Books for Ecologists to read for pleasure (not textbooks!)
Ecologists often get stuck on reading textbooks and journal articles. It’s important to occasionally break that cycle and dive into a book for pleasure. Below are a few of our favorite ecology-related books that will be an enjoyable read for anyone with a love for nature and biological processes.
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures
This wonderful book written by biologist Merlin Sheldrake digs into some of the wild ways that fungi can help us in our every-day lives. For an ecologist focused on animals, this is an excellent introduction to another side of the field which has connections to every living thing.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
Written by a botanist with an indigenous people's heritage, author Robin Wall ties together ancient myths with today's scientific understanding to reveal the lessons that plants can teach us. It's about ecology, but in a less-technical and more wholesome way that will make it a fun read for anyone in the field.
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
This extremely popular book details the mass extinction event happening as you read this - the devastation caused by the human race. The author Elizabeth Kolbert gathers research from several disciplines to outline what's going wrong and how we can all help fix it. Any ecologist who deeply cares for our planet will find this book both saddening and inspiring, leading to action to protect our planet.
The Drunken Botanist
This is a favorite book of natural scientists who share a love for the diverse world of booze. It focuses on the sometimes exotic or mundane plants used to create the world's beverages and the biological and chemical processes involved in the transition. Any ecologist with an interest in this subject would love this book and be armed with fun facts and in-depth knowledge of everything they sip on.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What is a good gift for an ecologist?
Anything that's practical, functional or can help them show their love for engineering. Here are our favorites:
- Ecology word magnets
- rOtring or Staedtler mechanical pencil
- The Pocket Engineer field ruler
- Cloud-connected Rocketbook reusable field notebook
- Cognitive Surplus Pocket Ecology Notebooks
- Animal Kingdom GIANT Microbes Plushes
- Ecology-themed books for pleasure reading
More gift collections for specific types of scientists and engineers:
We've further curated several collections of our own inventions depending on the type of scientist or engineer you're looking for. See these more niche collections below for more ideas!