In Floating Coast, stories of survival, sadness and madness

The Bering Strait is probably best known these days for the 50-mile thin stretch of Pacific Ocean that separates Russia from the United States. But it is also one of the most ecologically abundant waters in the world, attracting whales and seabirds from around the world. As well as people who come to hunt these …

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Review: Building a Better World in Your Backyard

When it comes to nonfiction environmental books these days, I feel that we’re reaching “peek dystopia.” Or, at least I hope we are. Because it seems that between books about our warming planet, animal extinction, water shortages and wars, I’m sufficiently enlightened and depressed. What we don’t have enough of these days are hands-on books …

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Book Review: Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics

A decade ago, not long after moving to Oregon, I traveled to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park where I entered an old-growth coast redwood forest for the first time. To say it was a moving experience is an understatement. The photographs I took were also an understatement; no picture can capture the enormity of these …

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Review: Edge of Awe: Experiences of the Malheur-Steens Country

Funny how a word can change on you. When I moved to Oregon nearly a decade ago, I first heard about the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, about the Steens mountain range, and the diversity of bird species that migrate through this region. Back then, Malheur meant wilderness. But in 2016, after group of armed men …

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Braiding Sweetgrass: Finding a way through environmental despair

At the ASLE conference earlier this summer I heard this book referenced in a number of sessions. And now, having read it, I realize why. Braiding Sweetgrass is a rich collection of essays about plants and animals, indigenous and scientific awareness, and our tenuous relationship with nature. But more than that, it is the story …

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Book Review: Frog Pond Philosophy: Essays on the Relationship between Humans and Nature by Strachan Donnelley

Reviewed by James Ballowe, Distinguished Professor English Emeritus from Bradley University Strachan Donnelley founded the Center for Humans and Nature in 2003 after years of pondering the ethical responsibilities of humans within the natural environment. Early on in his life after receiving a doctorate in philosophy, he became a member of the Hastings Center, the think …

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American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West

In 2006, a wolf was born in Yellowstone National Park. Named O-Six, she would grow into a fierce fighter, doting mother, and merciful leader. She’d be beloved by the park’s wolf watchers and a favorite of tourists who flocked to the park hoping to catch sight of her. Upon her death, she would be celebrated …

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BirdNote: Chirp-sized bird stories from the popular radio show

Here in Ashland, Oregon, I listen to our local radio station KSKQ. And for the past several years I’ve enjoyed the weekly, two-minute BirdNote programs. So I was excited to find that there is now a BirdNote book. What the book lacks in audio, it makes up for in very high print production values; it is …

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Book Review: Back from the Brink by Nancy F. Castaldo

Back from the Brink, by Nancy F. Castaldo, is a collection of stories for older kids (10 – 12 years old) about animals that have come very close to extinction.  Due to efforts from conservation researchers and passionate individuals who want to see these species survive, their populations have increased again.  I recommend this book …

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