TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Shawn Willsey teaches geology in the classroom, but he recently has found another avenue of sharing his passion: through a book he has written called “Geology Underfoot in Southern Idaho.”

Photo courtesy of Shawn Willsey
Photo courtesy of Shawn Willsey

Willsey, a professor of geology at the College of Southern Idaho and recently turned book author, published his first book this summer and says it likely will not be his last. For now, he’s been keeping busy promoting his first title.

The 304-page guide is reader-friendly, offering chapters on 23 geological sites in southern Idaho for those who want to get out and explore.

You don’t have to be a geologist to enjoy the book. In fact, according to Willsey, the book is written for the lay person, the one who wants to get outdoors but would like to know more about the rocks and interesting geology they encounter.

“Every chapter starts with a map on how to get there,” Willsey said. The book also contains color photos and graphics. “We don’t have a lot of available resources (about local geology) for the general public. That was the impetus for writing the book.”

Every chapter starts with map and includes color photos and graphics.

Image courtesy of Mountain Press
Image courtesy of Mountain Press

“Sometimes a person might drive down a road and wonder what they’re seeing, what that rock or mountain is,” he said, noting his book is meant to give them those answers.

Willsey took a sabbatical in the fall of 2015 to work on the book, and said there were a couple of neat surprises he uncovered during the research phase of preparing the manuscript.

One was a place called Malm Gulch near Challis. It wasn’t the petrified wood of the area that interested him, per se – that’s an easy enough topic to tackle – but the nearby canyon that Willsey calls “spectacular.”

“It’s like the Redwoods in Idaho,” he said, noting the place is decorated with “huge stumps of now fossilized wood. … It’s a neat little hidden gem. There’s a small sign on the road, but I don’t think anyone goes in there.”

Now he is hoping people will.

Think geology is boring? Read Willsey's book, which ramps up the fun as you explore the interesting geology right under your feet in southern Idaho. His book is not burdened by technicality, but one that is friendly for the average Idahoan, one you'll want to pack with you on field trips.

Still, the author says the book is not a trail guide in the traditional sense. “It’s more about telling you what you see when you’re there,” he said. “I think when people are outside they’re interested in finding out more about what they are seeing.”

Willsey's book, which retails for $24, is available through direct order from the author, at online retail stores, and at Barnes & Noble in Twin Falls, the College of Southern Idaho and the Twin Falls Visitors Center, among other locations.

What's next for the Twin Falls author?

"I definitely want to do another book," he said, but noting that for the remainder of this year he's focused on promoting his first title. He's not sure what the next book will be about – or even if it will be one about Idaho – but he has some ideas.

And now, he has a publisher who is interested in his work.

More From News Radio 1310 KLIX