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Across the Great Border Fault
The Naturalist Myth in America
Dann, Kevin
Rutgers University Press, 2000

In recent years scholars have begun to question the cultural values underlying our view of Nature. Kevin Dann contributes to this debate by juxtaposing two radically different “Arcadian” experiments founded by Manhattanites seeking cultural renewal through contact with the natural world.

Dann focuses first on initiatives carried out by the American Museum of Natural History and the Eugenics Record Office from 1910 to 1940 within Harriman State Park in the Ramapo Mountains. He argues that these diverse expressions of the early “back-to-nature” movement are united by their biological materialism, or “Naturalism,” which became integral to the popular culture of educated metropolitan Americans in the early twentieth century.

He then compares this activity to the contemporary efforts at nearby Threefold Farm, where anthroposophists--followers of Rudolf Steiner's“spiritual science”--developed a program of natural scientific research and education that directly opposed Darwinian explanations of natural history, social Darwinian views of human society, and reductionist scientific methods. By challenging scientific “fact” with spiritual scientific descriptions of supersensible phenomena, the Threefold Farm initiative offered Americans a new gospel of nature.

 

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All the Wild and Lonely Places
Journeys In A Desert Landscape
Lawrence Hogue
Island Press, 2000
"All the wild and lonely places, the mountain springs are called now. They were not lonely or wild places in the past days. They were the homes of my people." --Chief Francisco Patencio, the Cahuilla of Palm Springs The Anza-Borrego Desert on California's southern border is a remote and harsh landscape, what author Lawrence Hogue calls "a land of dreams and nightmares, where the waking world meets the fantastic shapes and bent forms of imagination." In a country so sere and rugged, it's easy to imagine that no one has ever set foot there -- a wilderness waiting to be explored. Yet for thousands of years, the land was home to the Cahuilla and Kumeyaay Indians, who, far from being the "noble savages" of European imagination, served as active caretakers of the land that sustained them, changing it in countless ways and adapting it to their own needs as they adapted to it.In All the Wild and Lonely Places, Lawrence Hogue offers a thoughtful and evocative portrait of Anza-Borrego and of the people who have lived there, both original inhabitants and Spanish and American newcomers -- soldiers, Forty-Niners, cowboys, canal-builders, naturalists, recreationists, and restorationists. We follow along with the author on a series of excursions into the desert, each time learning more about the region's history and why it calls into question deeply held beliefs about "untouched" nature. And we join him in considering the implications of those revelations for how we think about the land that surrounds us, and how we use and care for that land."We could persist in seeing the desert as an emptiness, a place hostile to humans, a pristine wilderness," Hogue writes. "But it's better to see this as a place where ancient peoples tried to make their homes, and succeeded. We can learn from what they did here, and use that knowledge to reinvigorate our concept of wildness. Humans are part of nature; it's still nature, even when we change it."
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American Dinosaur Abroad
A Cultural History of Carnegie's Plaster Diplodocus
Nieuwland, Ilja
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020
In early July 1899, an excavation team of paleontologists sponsored by Andrew Carnegie discovered the fossil remains in Wyoming of what was then the longest and largest dinosaur on record. Named after its benefactor, the Diplodocus carnegii—or Dippy, as it’s known today—was shipped to Pittsburgh and later mounted and unveiled at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in 1907. Carnegie’s pursuit of dinosaurs in the American West and the ensuing dinomania of the late nineteenth century coincided with his broader political ambitions to establish a lasting world peace and avoid further international conflict. An ardent philanthropist and patriot, Carnegie gifted his first plaster cast of Dippy to the British Museum at the behest of King Edward VII in 1902, an impulsive diplomatic gesture that would result in the donation of at least seven reproductions to museums across Europe and Latin America over the next decade, in England, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Argentina, and Spain. In this largely untold history, Ilja Nieuwland explores the influence of Andrew Carnegie’s prized skeleton on European culture through the dissemination, reception, and agency of his plaster casts, revealing much about the social, political, cultural, and scientific context of the early twentieth century.
 
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Ancient Piñon-Juniper Woodlands
A Natural History of Mesa Verde Country
Lisa M. Floyd
University Press of Colorado, 2003
In Ancient Piñon-Juniper Woodlands, editor Lisa Floyd gathers together noted scientists and historians to celebrate the varied and unique woodland region surrounding Mesa Verde National Park. One of the most widespread habitat types in the West, piñon-juniper woodlands have faced extensive eradication, grazing pressures, and the encroachment of human developments, and, consequently, only a few mature stands have reached their full growth potential. Mesa Verde Country, with its deep canyons and high ridgetops, is the magnificent home of many of these ancient stands.

Impressively broad in scope, Floyd's volume thoroughly explores Mesa Verde Country's important and historic ecosystem. Covering such diverse topics as geologic evolution, natural history, human history, bats, and fungi, to name but a few, this volume will appeal to scientists, resource managers, conservationists, and the lay reader with an interest in this most western of ecosystems. Technical Editors: David D. Hanna, William H. Romme and Marilyn Colyer

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Appalachian Autumn
Marcia Bonta
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994
Appalachian Autumn chronicles the beauties of the fall months, small and large. But Marcia Bonta’s quiet mountaintop life is shattered by a lumberman who clear-cuts a neighboring property. The massive bulldozers and skidders crush every tree and shrub, weed, and wildflower, leaving only rubble in their wake. Fleeing from the whine of chain saws and the crash of falling trees, she roams the mountain, watching wild turkeys forage in the field, flocks of migrating birds feast on wild grapes, and does and bucks eye each other in their mating ritual. “Autumn is a bittersweet time,” Bonta writes, “a season of good-byes, when, after the flaming leaves fall and start the inevitable process of decay, we are left with only the bare bones of nature.” If we are not careful, she warns, there may come a day when autumn’s dusk and winter’s night no longer lead into spring’s morning. 
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Appalachian Spring
Marcia Bonta
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1991

Marcia Bonta is a naturalist-writer who has lived for decades on a five-hundred-acre mountaintop farm in Central Pennsylvania. In Appalachian Spring, the intricacies of the season unravel day by day in journal entries that combine Bonta’s own meticulous observations with the research reported by botanists, entomologists, and other natural scientists.

Every aspect of the natural world catches her eye, from the life cycle of a tent caterpillar to the sex life of jack-in-the pulpit. She hopes, by recounting such wonders, to convert others to what she calls the “third stage” in humanity’s relationship with nature, that of empathy with all of nature for its own sake: “To know the earth better, to grasp a little of its workings, to look on it with awe and wonder as well as with respect, is to want to save it from destruction.”


 
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Appalachian Summer
Marcia Bonta
University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999
In Appalachian Summer, Marcia Bonta offers a day-by-day account of summer’s budding, blossoming, and fading on her 650-acre property in south-central Pennsylvania. During this summer, the author’s first grandchild grows alongside the forest animals that populate the mountain. A local girl disappears, and while searchers comb the mountain for her, Bonta poses questions about women’s safety in the woods and why they might hesitate to hike or camp on their own. Undeterred, she continues her meandering daily walks around her forested home, making minute observations of this one place in this one season, ultimately laying bare the undeniable connections we retain to the natural world—which is, after all, our own. 
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Appalachian Winter
Marcia Bonta
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005
Winter is the season that most tests our mettle. The psychological burdens of waiting for spring under gray skies compound the challenges of freezing rain, wind chill, deep snow, and dangerous ice. Despite winter’s harshness, there is plenty of beauty and life in the woods if only we know where to look. The stark, white landscape sparkles in the sunshine and glows beneath the moon on crisp, clear nights; bare branches make it easy to see long distances; birds flock to feeders; and animals—even those that should be hibernating—make surprise visits from time to time. Appalachian Winter offers acclaimed naturalist Marcia Bonta’s account of one season as experienced on and around her 650-acre home on the westernmost ridge of the hill-and-valley landscape that dominates central Pennsylvania.
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At the Glacier’s Edge
A Natural History of Long Island from the Narrows to Montauk Point
Betsy McCully
Rutgers University Press, 2024
Vast salt marshes, ancient grasslands, lush forests, pristine beaches and dunes, and copious inland waters, all surrounded by a teeming sea. These are probably not the first things you imagine when you think of Long Island, but just beyond its highways and housing developments lies a stunning landscape full of diverse plant and animal life. 
 
Combining science writing, environmental history, and first-hand accounts from a longtime resident, At the Glacier’s Edge offers a unique narrative natural history of Long Island. Betsy McCully tells the story of how the island was formed at the end of the last ice age, how its habitats evolved, and how humans in the last few hundred years have radically altered and degraded its landscape. Yet as she personally recounts the habitat losses and species declines she has witnessed over the past few decades, she describes the vital efforts that environmental activists are making to restore and reclaim this land—from replanting salt marshes, to preserving remaining grasslands and forests, to cleaning up the waters. At the Glacier’s Edge provides an in-depth look at the flora, fauna and geology that make Long Island so special.
 
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The Attention of a Traveller
Essays on William Bartram's "Travels" and Legacy
Edited by Kathryn H. Braund
University of Alabama Press, 2022
New essays that illuminate and interpret William Bartram’s journey through what would become the southeastern United States
 
William Bartram, author of Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulees, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws, was colonial America’s first native born naturalist and artist, and the first author in the modern genre of writers who portrayed nature through personal experience as well as scientific observation. His book, first published in 1791, was based on his journeys through southern Indian nations and Britain’s southern colonies in the years just prior to the American Revolution and provides descriptions of the natural and cultural environments of what would soon become the American South. Scholars and general readers alike have long appreciated Bartram’s lush, vivid prose, his clarity of observation and evident wonder at the landscapes he traversed, and his engagement with the native nations whose lands he traveled through.
 
The Attention of a Traveller: Essays on William Bartram’s “Travels” and Legacy offers an interdisciplinary assessment of Bartram’s influence and evolving legacy, opening new avenues of research concerning the flora, fauna, and people connected to Bartram and his writings. Featuring 13 essays divided into five sections, contributors to the volume weave together scholarly perspectives from geology, art history, literary criticism, geography, and philosophy, alongside the more traditional Bartram-affiliated disciplines of biology and history. The collection concludes with a comprehensive treatment of the book as a material historical artifact.
 
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