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

In Animal Behavior, Book Reviews, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Wolves by Jacki SkoleLeave a Comment

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 in the New York Times as “the most famous wolf in the world.” American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by award-winning journalist Nate Blakeslee is a riveting account of O-Six’s life and untimely death. It is also the story …

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Return of the Sea Otter: The story of a resilient species and its many human friends

In Animal Behavior, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Oceans by John Yunker

The sea otter should have been extinct by now. We, as in human civilization, did our very best to eliminate the species — not because we saw it as a pest but because its pelts were among the most desirable. And so hundreds of thousands of these sea mammals were killed because they happened to posses the densest fur coats of any animal on this planet. But the sea otter somehow managed to survive the slaughter. Handfuls of otters in Russia and the coasts of Alaska and California escaped, and, over time, their populations grew. Return of the Sea Otter: The …

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

In Animal Behavior, Birds, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by John Yunker

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 beautifully designed, with full-color illustrations and a handy bookmark tassel. This will make an excellent gift for the would-be birder in your family. And even veteran birders will enjoy it. While I’d like to think I’ve learned a fair amount about birds over the years …

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Book Review: Junk Raft by Marcus Eriksen

In Birds, Book Reviews, Nonfiction, Oceans, Oil, Pollution by Midge Raymond

Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution tells the terrifying and important story of plastics in our oceans, framed by Marcus Eriksen’s journey aboard Junk, the all-plastic raft he and his sailing partner took from California to Hawaii to raise awareness of the plight of our seas. Eriksen, who would later go on to co-found the organization 5 Gyres Institute with his wife, Anna, writes about the 2,600-mile journey over eighty-eight days and its challenges—among them, structural problems with the raft and bracing storms—interspersing the narrative with facts that all consumers should …

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

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction by Heather Taft

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 for students who are interested in conservation and learning about how researchers help save species that are on the verge of extinction.  It would make an excellent addition to a school library. The book starts with an introduction to the legislation that helps protect species, …

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The Overstory: An arboreal love story (and lament)

In Anthropocene, Book Reviews, Climate Change, Conservation, Endangered Species, Fiction, Trees by John Yunker

When we started EcoLit Books five years ago, this was the type of book I had in mind. A novel that places nature in its proper place in relation to people. That is, above us — in this case, both figuratively and literally. In The Overstory, Richard Powers has crafted an epic novel that stretches hundreds of years, culminating in a series of life-and-death environmental battles. But even more so, this is a novel about rediscovering the largest and oldest living creatures on our planet. So many of the characters are alien to the trees they share the planet with until …

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Book Review: Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil & the Future of Africa’s Big Cats by Andrew Loveridge

In Animal Behavior, Book Reviews, Conservation, Nonfiction by Heather Taft

In Lion Hearted: The Life and Death of Cecil & the Future of Africa’s Big Cats, lion researcher Andrew Loveridge recounts his work studying prides of lions living in Zimbabwe. From his initial research on jackals, to the inception and evolution of the lion research project to assess the impact hunting has on lion populations, this is a great exploration of Loveridge’s work over the years. I highly recommend it to lion lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. I caution readers not to be misled by the title though. Do not read this book expecting all of it to focus on Cecil. …

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Book Review: The Animals’ Agenda by Marc Bekoff & Jessica Pierce

In Animal Behavior, Animal Rights, Anthropocene, Birds, Book Reviews, Conservation, Endangered Species, Nonfiction, Veganism by Midge Raymond

The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age by Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce is an important and timely book that examines the human relationship with — or, more accurately, examines the many ways in which humans use — animals and how this relationship needs to evolve. This book asks readers to rethink how we see animals and to adopt more compassionate practices toward them, from animals used for food and entertainment to those in the wild. If this book has one message that we all need to hear, it’s that animals in our society suffer abuses that …

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Announcing the 2017 Siskiyou Prize winner & finalists

In For Writers, Nonfiction by Midge Raymond

Many congratulations to the winner of the 2017 Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature: Diana Hartel, for her essay collection Watershed Redemption: Journey in Time on Five U.S. Watersheds. Judge Jonathan Balcombe writes of Diana’s book: “In Watershed Redemption, Diana Hartel’s sweeping, richly researched account conjures up a Bierstadt landscape. With elegant, crystal-clear prose, she weaves a dire yet hopeful tapestry of ecological ignorance, genocide, and tenacious activism. There is something for everyone—environmentalist, policy-maker, ethnologist, historian, biologist, epidemiologist, artist—in this powerful piece of advocacy.” Diana Hartel writes on public health and ecosystem health issues. She graduated from Columbia University with a doctorate in epidemiology and concentrations in …

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Book Review: I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer

In Book Reviews, Children's Books, Conservation, Fiction by Heather Taft

Brad Meltzer has written a child-friendly account of Dr. Jane Goodall as she grew up and began her research on chimpanzees in I am Jane Goodall.  I recommend this book for budding environmentalists.  It shows kids the importance of caring for the Earth and the need to work with others to advance conservation efforts.  It also demonstrates that passions can turn into careers. If you have a young environmentalist in your home this could be a good addition to their library. The book starts with Jane’s first birthday, then gives a humorous glimpse of trouble she got into as a …