A Year in the Maine Woods is a memoir written by Bernd Heinrich, a zoologist and a naturalist. For 25 years, he taught at the University of Vermont, which meant that, as he phrased it, what he did was "fill out forms, read memos, and sit in meetings," which left him with a longing to be "out in the woods." Part of his longing stemmed from his experience living as a refugee with his family in a forest in northern Germany. He had also lived as a teenager in Maine, where he learned how to fish, hunt, trap, brew his own beer, and build his own log cabin. Therefore, he felt he was prepared to tackle surviving all on his own out in the woods in Adams Hill, western Maine.
He travels to Maine with his pet baby Raven named Jack, who is nearly an adult, and who he and his friend Chuck Reiss rescued when the raven's parents abandoned him. In the woods, he chops trees, builds his own log cabin, plants a vegetable garden, and undertakes other necessities. His memoir is complete with drawings of flowers and other vegetation and daily logs of activities.