WildRead Comment Archive March 28-April 24, 2011

What are you reading? Leave a comment below!

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    Anne Post March 28th 2011 at 3:05 pm   #     Reply
    Love the book Arctic Sanctuary by Jeff Jones and Laurie Hoyle – photography and essays. See Art Wolfe’s blog entry.  From Art: “…beautifully showcases a pristine land caught in the crosshairs of the greatest of human calamities including global climate change and the grim search for energy resources.”
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      Sarah Gannon-Nagle March 28th 2011 at 8:25 pm   #     Reply
      It was a remarkable experience to listen to the photographer, Jeff Jones, highlight some of the images from this book at a recent conference. He explained what made each image unique, how he selected a scene, and his travels through the various eco-zones in the Arctic Refuge to capture each on film. Makes for an extraordinary book!
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      Dave Griffin March 28th 2011 at 8:46 pm   #     Reply
      I also recommend Arctic Wings, which has contributions by a number of photographers working at the Arctic NWR and elsewhere in that critical habitat for shorebirds.
  • Steve Chase March 28th 2011 at 9:35 pm   #     Reply
    • Susan Morse April 5th 2011 at 1:55 pm   #     Reply
      Agree that Ed Abbey (Desert Solitaire and other works) belongs high on any recommended reading list about the enviornment. Desert Solitaire is wonderful reading.
  • Robert Michael Pyle March 29th 2011 at 1:44 am   #     Reply
    I highly recommend WILD AMERICA by Roger Tory Peterson and his English pal, James Fisher. This 1956 classic is in print from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and it is still as brilliant, vivid, funny, thought-provoking, and essential as it was back then. RTP + JF travel the wilder reaches of North America in 1953, including many refuges, and report, reflect, and refract on what they see, propelled by Coca-Cola and an old station wagon. This book may be more important and relevant than ever, as we parse what our remaining wildness is and may become. This is NOT a Peterson field guide! It’s a guide book only in the sense of “A wilder’s guide,” a wonderful phrase from Roy Conant’s great poem “Be Wilderness.” I warmly include WILD AMERICA on the WILD READ list. You’ll be glad, if only for a great read!
    • Karene Motivans March 31st 2011 at 6:45 pm   #     Reply
      Thank you for sharing this – it brought up a vague memory for me – WILD AMERICA might have been on my parent’s bookshelf next to the encyclopedias . I am inspired to look for it in the library. I love to consider how older texts can give us a glimse of what we once thought would happen in the future and see how much of that speculation came true. Fifty years from now, will we agree that the 2011 books on climate change accurately told our destiny?
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    Sarah Gannon-Nagle March 30th 2011 at 1:27 pm   #     Reply
    A savvy colleague loaned me a copy of Don’t Be Such a Scientist by Randy Olson. Here’s a great quote on the importance of effective messaging: “…Communication is not just one element in the struggle to make science relevant. It is THE central element. Because if you gather scientific knowledge but are unable to convey it to others in a correcte and compelling form, you might as well not even have bothered to gather the information.” Thoughts?
  • Eliza Wallace April 5th 2011 at 1:08 am   #     Reply
    Eaarth by Bill McKibben strikes a very keen note of urgency in the voice of the environmental movement. I would recommend it to any well-intentioned, small-time light-bulb-switcher who thinks that he or she can keep climate change from happening. Eaarth starkly and honestly lays out some facts that even the most staunch environmentalist quivers to admit. The book tackles our current condition–that climate change has already happened, irreversibly, and will continue to happen even with all the efforts that have occurred in the last decades. To paraphrase McKibben’s words: all our movement is trying for now is a more graceful decline, not a uncontrollable, spiraling crash. This book will WAKE PEOPLE UP. But luckily, as utterly devastating as it is, it inspires the reader to do something, somehow. One of its focuses is an interesting social concept; to battle our deteriorating earth, we must be neighborly. Sounds hard to connect, but read the book and McKibben’s wisely thought out, if sometimes slightly emotional or even biased argument will challenge the detached approach to the environmental movement and encourage all to ACT.
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    Lisa Mayo April 5th 2011 at 7:52 am   #     Reply
    I thoroughly enjoyed Rosalie Edge, Hawk of Mercy: The Activist Who Saved Nature from the Conservationists. The book is a refreshing biography about a woman who wasn’t afraid to act boldly to protect wildlife — and she wasn’t afraid to take on the powerful conservation groups and challenge their efforts. She was also the woman who leased land on Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania to stop the slaughter of thousands of raptors each year. Now Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is one of the most famous raptor conservation organizations in the world. Rosalie Edge doesn’t have the name recognition of Rachel Carson and Marjory Stoneman Douglas, but she should.
  • Ellen Murphy April 5th 2011 at 9:59 am   #     Reply
    I would like to suggest Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams. Although this book was first published in 1992, it’s themes are timeless–life, death and survival. Mostly what I enjoyed, and consider as some of the elements of good writing, are the structure and parallel story lines. Here is the synopsis from the Barnes & Noble website: “In the spring of 1983 Terry Tempest Williams learned that her mother was dying of cancer. That same season, The Great Salt Lake began to rise to record heights, threatening the herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams, a poet and naturalist, had come to gauge her life by. One event was nature at its most random, the other a by-product of rogue technology: Terry’s mother, and Terry herself, had been exposed to the fallout of atomic bomb tests in the 1950s. As it interweaves these narratives of dying and accommodation, Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace, resulting in a work that has become a classic.” The author has an intimate relationship with the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge that is threatened by the Great Salt Lake but the term refuge takes on many meanings throughout the book.
  • Dave Smith April 5th 2011 at 11:25 am   #     Reply
    I’d like to recommend three books and a really great book-on-tape to listen to on long trips to the field.
    First, Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators by Will Stolzenburg is a fascinating read on the top-down effects of large predators and the results when we eliminate them.

    Joel Berger’s The Better to Eat You With: Fear in the Animal World discusses his work around the world in ecosystems with and without recently removed or reintroduced large predators. In a nutshell, when large predators are absent, prey like elk and moose, forget what they are. When they are reintroduced, in some cases you can guess what happens to the elk, until they re-learn what a wolf is.
    Jon Louma’s The Hidden Forest is about old growth forest research in Oregon. I didn’t know aboreal lichens and ectomicorrhizal fungi were so interesting, but they are.
    Lastly, Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac is a great book-on-tape to listen too on long drives, especially when going into the field. His observations make you take better field notes when you get to your destination.
    • Karene Motivans April 6th 2011 at 7:48 am   #     Reply
      Your comment about taking better field notes after listening to A Sand County Almanac made me smile. It’s been a long time since I have been in the field, but I can imagine this.
  • Laurie Heupel April 5th 2011 at 4:15 pm   #     Reply
    I cannot say enough good about any of  Terry Tempest Williams’ books especially Refuge which is an outstanding book. Her books bring the landscapes to life and you almost can reach out and touch them.
    Another wonderful book is E.O. Wilson’s Naturalist which he writes about his career and his love of the natural world.
  • Molly Stoddard April 5th 2011 at 8:07 pm   #     Reply
    Anyone read The Animal Dialogues by Craig Childs? Beautifully written stories about unusual encounters with wildlife. I am LOVING IT!
  • Kathy April 10th 2011 at 9:09 am   #     Reply
    • Karene Motivans April 11th 2011 at 11:07 am   #     Reply
      Kathy – that is a terrific list. Do you know of any other Refuge book groups? Are you willing to share your organization tips with other Refuges? Thank you for sharing your book list with all of us!
  • Christopher April 11th 2011 at 6:16 pm   #     Reply
    I would like to recommend the book The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. This book inspired my imagination from the very first chapter when Weisman started to describe the last remaining old growth forest of europe “BELOVEZHSKAYA PUSHCHA / BIAŁOWIEZA FOREST,” the primordial sense in your mind you feel when he tells of this wonderful place is great. The Belovezhskaya Pushcha is just a small remaining piece of a much larger forest that stretched at one time from Russia/Asia to Ireland is just amazing. This area was in 1538: The first recorded law protecting the forest; 1541:declared a hunting reserve to protect the bison;
    1557: A forest charter was issued, appointing a special board to examine the rights of forest usage
    He also describes the the many places where human interference is no longer and how nature/wildlife has taken a foothold in these types of environments. The chapters in this book will open your mind to what our world was and what will be in the future, regardless if we are here to witness it.
  • Nancy Zapotocki April 12th 2011 at 5:27 pm   #     Reply
    I am so happy to see this sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Of the listed books to select from, I was pleased to see one by E.O. Wilson. I have not yet read Anthill, but have been inspired by his way of looking at life. I thoroughly appreciated reading his book Biophilia and often refer to this term, which Wilson describes as the “innate tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes.” Humans “love of living things” – our innate connection with nature. I was also reminded of Robert Michael Pyle and his books when I saw his comment on this site. I often call to mind the following quote from The Thunder Tree: Lessons from an Urban Wildland when I worked with education that connects people to nature in their own backyards. “People who care, conserve; people who don’t know don’t care. What is the extinction of the condor to a child who has never known a wren?” Thanks Robert!
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    Karen Lindsey April 13th 2011 at 10:41 am   #     Reply
    One of my favorite books is The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction by David Quammen. Written in 1997 not too long after the emergence of conservation biology, David explores the ups and downs of biodiversity on a global scale beginning with Darwin and on through Michael Soule. Its a long book, but its a page turner and easy to read. The places and experiences are described so vividly you feel like you are physically there. Lots of humor and adventure. I recommend it.
  • Clem Dietze April 13th 2011 at 10:42 am   #     Reply
    Carl Safina’s The View From Lazy Point is one of the most poignant books I have ever read. The author has the ability to demonstrate his love of nature in superb prose as well as addressing the alerts that are gradually destroying this planet. The science in the book is written in “Layman Language” and not as dry dissertations. Known authors have called the book a true masterpiece. The writing is powerful and poetic, the observations so keen and telling that it just might become the twenty-first century’s Walden. Peter Matthiessen, a 2008 National Book Award Winner, said “Safina’s qualifications as a naturalist, marine biologist, make him the ideal interpreter of The View from Lazy Point; another qualification, of course, is the high quality of his prose, which makes all this fascinating information such a great pleasure to read.”
    Personally, I find that after some paragraphs I have to stop and reflect with deep emotion and at times tears and at others feelings of joy. This book is a must read.
  • Jackie April 13th 2011 at 10:50 am   #     Reply
    Currently I am reading Two in the Far North by Mardy Murie in celebration of the Arctic Refuge’s 50th anniversary. Can you imagine travel in the far north before airplanes and such? … going upriver with a baby? Inspiring!
    This site has given me several ideas of where to go next. Thanks.
  • Curt Meine April 13th 2011 at 7:40 pm   #     Reply
    If you do want to carry through the crane focus, there is Peter Matthiessen’s The Birds of Heaven: Travels With Cranes. Scott Russell Sanders’ book A Conservationist Manifesto is a fine work. Carl Safina’s new book The View from Lazy Point [is a fine work] as well. Douglas Brinkley’s recent book on Theodore Roosevelt and conservation might make a good choice.
    I’ll keep thinking. Finding one that would especially connect to the theme of the future of refuges is a good challenge.
    Best wishes,
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    Ann Marie Chapman April 14th 2011 at 12:00 pm   #     Reply
    Reading John McPhee’s The Control of Nature in college probably started me on the path to wildlife/habitat management. It was a fanscinating profile of society’s struggle with the manipulation of natural processes (e.g. Mississippi River, fire suppression, etc.). This was one book I kept after school!
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    Rebecca Merritt April 14th 2011 at 7:31 pm   #     Reply
    Edward Abbey will forever be one of my favorite authors. While I work in law enforcement, his law breaking characters in “The Monkey-Wrench Gang” make me laugh and cheer – HAYDUKE LIVES! His personal memoir (Desert Solitaire) on his days at Arches National Park inspired me to become a Park Ranger. The characters in his books are gritty and rugged. While I may not agree on all his personal opinions (e.g. – he makes fun of women in law enforcement), I do agree that his books get people excited about raw nature. Love him or hate him, Edward Abbey has inspired generations of readers to fight (I’d suggest legally to Hayduke) to preserve the last of the great American Wilderness!
  • Susan Patla April 16th 2011 at 4:30 pm   #     Reply
    One of my favorite writers is a woman who died far too young but her works are real treasures and should be more widely known: Ellen Meloy. Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild (2005) focuses on desert bighorn sheep but is a poetic elegy for loss of the wild and wilderness in our lives. Other works include Raven’s Exile: A Season on the Green River and The Anthropology of Turquoise: Meditations on Landscape, Art, and Spirit. Each is a treasure. Her insights, metaphors, and use of language surprise and delight on every page. These are books to relish and give as gifts to those who love all things wild or need to learn to do so!


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