Exploring the wildlife, places, traditions, culture, and personalities associated with spring throughout Europe, and introducing readers to cultural, scientific, and historical research and his recollections of 30 years of continental travel, Laurence Rose paints a vivid picture of one of the world's most significant and beautiful natural phenomena: spring.
Laurence begins his journey in the first week of February, arriving in southern Spain with the storks that herald the beginning of Europe's spring on San Blas Day. Swallows, cranes and, later on, wild swans are his constant companions as he journeys his way north through Spain, France, and the UK, eventually crossing over to Sweden, Finland, and Norway before finally reaching the Arctic Circle four months later.
While on the road, Laurence follows live data from satellites tracking birds as well as other indicators of spring. Throughout his travels, he meets people living closely with nature. He also encounters new behaviours, such as cranes wintering in France, and explores how they link to climate change.
The further north he travels, the more unpredictable the events of spring become. At the end of his journey, Laurence reflects on what he has learned, as the long Arctic days stretch out into 24 hours of daylight.
An eminent paleontologist with the soul and skill of a poet, Loren Eiseley (1907-1977) was among the twentieth century's greatest inheritors of the literary tradition of Henry David Thoreau, Charles Darwin, and John Muir, and a precursor to such later writers as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and Carl Sagan. After decades of fieldwork and discovery as a "bone-hunter" and professor, Eiseley turned late in life to the personal essay, and beginning with the surprise million-copy seller The Immense Journey (1957) he produced an astonishing succession of books that won acclaim both as science and as art. Now for the first time, the Library of America presents his landmark essay collections in a definitive two-volume set.This first volume begins with Eiseley's debut collection, which displays his far-reaching knowledge and boundless curiosity about the mysteries of the natural world. Here are vivid accounts of prehistoric ecosystems, the origins of consciousness, the search for "living fossils" at the bottom of the sea, and the complexities of our evolutionary inheritance. Here too are literary qualities and aspirations that led many to hail Eiseley as a "modern Thoreau" his quest for the ultimate meanings and cosmological significance of natural phenomena, along with his immense expressive gifts.
The Firmament of Time (1960), a lyrical and meditative tour de force, looks back at the many ways in which the sciences have been shaped by the changing cultures in which they developed. Examining the role of metaphor in scientific thought, anticipations of scientific discoveries in the works of poets and novelists, and the "unconscious conformity" of scientific theory to prevailing orthodoxies, Eiseley argues provocatively for the ongoing relevance to scientific progress of dreams, the imagination, and the irrational. In his wide-ranging collection The Unexpected Universe (1969), Eiseley turns to the theme of the voyage of discovery: accounts of the mythical and historic journeys of Odysseus, Captain Cook, and Darwin frame his own more modest wanderings in the environs of Philadelphia. Sometimes he travels no farther than the local dump: and yet, like Homer's hero or these great explorers, he continually finds a universe "not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose." As an added feature, this volume presents a selection of Eiseley's uncollected prose, including early autobiographical sketches, vivid and haunting entries from his private notebooks, and his 1957 lecture "Neanderthal Man and the Dawn of Human Paleontology." A companion volume presents The Invisible Pyramid (1970), The Night Country (1971), and the essays gathered after his death in The Star Thrower (1978). LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
This indispensable collection is filled with marvelous autobiographical glimpses of Loren Eiseley at different points in his life-as a young, inquisitive man during the Depression, as an astute archaeologist, as a blossoming writer, and lastly, as a world-renowned observer and essayist. Also included are poems, short stories, an array of Eiseley's absorbing observations on the natural world, and his always startling reflections on the nature and future of humankind and the universe. Loren Eiseley's many works include The Night Country, The Invisible Pyramid, The Firmament of Time, and All the Strange Hours, all available in Bison Books editions. Kenneth Heuer was Eiseley's longtime friend and editor.
The tiny, lungless Thorius salamander from southern Mexico, thinner than a match and smaller than a quarter. The lushly white-coated Saki, an arboreal monkey from the Brazilian rainforests. The olinguito, a native of the Andes, which looks part mongoose, part teddy bear. These fantastic species are all new to science--at least newly named and identified; but they weren't discovered in the wild, instead, they were unearthed in the drawers and cavernous basements of natural history museums. As Christopher Kemp reveals in The Lost Species, hiding in the cabinets and storage units of natural history museums is a treasure trove of discovery waiting to happen.With Kemp as our guide, we go spelunking into museum basements, dig through specimen trays, and inspect the drawers and jars of collections, scientific detectives on the hunt for new species. We discover king crabs from 1906, unidentified tarantulas, mislabeled Himalayan landsnails, an unknown rove beetle originally collected by Darwin, and an overlooked squeaker frog, among other curiosities. In each case, these specimens sat quietly for decades--sometimes longer than a century--within the collections of museums, before sharp-eyed scientists understood they were new. Each year, scientists continue to encounter new species in museum collections--a stark reminder that we have named only a fraction of the world's biodiversity. Sadly, some specimens have waited so long to be named that they are gone from the wild before they were identified, victims of climate change and habitat loss. As Kemp shows, these stories showcase the enduring importance of these very collections. The Lost Species vividly tells these stories of discovery--from the latest information on each creature to the people who collected them and the scientists who finally realized what they had unearthed--and will inspire many a museumgoer to want to peek behind the closed doors and rummage through the archives.
On September 12, 1609, Henry Hudson first set foot on the land that would become Manhattan. Today, it's difficult to imagine what he saw, but for more than a decade, landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson has been working to do just that. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City is the astounding result of those efforts, reconstructing in words and images the wild island that millions now call home. By geographically matching an 18th-century map with one of the modern city, examining volumes of historic documents, and collecting and analyzing scientific data, Sanderson re-creates the forests of Times Square, the meadows of Harlem, and the wetlands of downtown. His lively text guides readers through this abundant landscape, while breathtaking illustrations transport them back in time. Mannahatta is a groundbreaking work that provides not only a window into the past, but also inspiration for the future.
"This book," writes marine biologist Evelyn B. Sherr, "is meant to give others an understanding of the fascinating life of the region, from the smallest creatures in marsh mud and estuarine water, to the mummichogs and multitudes of other animals that find food and shelter in the vast expanses of marsh grass, in the sounds, and along the beaches of the Georgia Isles." Sherr not only spent years doing research in coastal Georgia, she began her family there. Although Sherr's career would take her around the world, this special place stuck with her. Here she shares her deep knowledge of the remarkable environment that she, her scientist husband, and their two children explored time and again.Dr. Sherr is the ideal companion with whom to discover coastal Georgia. She points out its swimming, running, flying, drifting, and wriggling wildlife--and tells how it all exists in balance in a landscape subject to its own daily ebbs and flows, its own seasonal cycles. As we learn about Georgia's distinctive intertidal salt marshes, subtidal estuaries, and open beaches and dunes, Sherr reveals the creatures that support--and are supported by--these habitats: the microbes in estuarine water and in marsh mud; the zooplankton swarming in the tidal rivers and sounds; and numerous fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. This engaging and curiosity-rousing book blends scientific fact with a timely conservation message and anecdotes of a family's encounters with nature.
The Guadalupe Mountains hold what some call the most beautiful spot in Texas. Once home to the Mescalero Apaches, McKittrick Canyon is an alluring wonderland of lush and abundant flora and fauna. It is named for Captain Felix McKittrick, who acquired the land for ranching in 1869. Legends of lost Spanish gold mines drew many unsuccessful prospectors before the turn of the century. Later, through the monumental efforts of early landowners J.C. Hunter Sr. and Wallace Pratt, the canyon was preserved as a pristine portion of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Each fall, eager visitors witness a vibrant show headlined by bigtooth maple and a variety of oak trees. Join author Donna Blake Birchell in an exploration of McKittrick Canyon's colorful history.
Full of surprises, bedecked with gorgeous photographs and maps, and supported by unprecedented historical and ecological research, this book awakens a new perspective on the renowned New England island Martha's Vineyard. David Foster explores the powerful natural and cultural forces that have shaped the storied island to arrive at a new interpretation of the land today and a well-informed guide to its conservation in the future.
Two decades of research by Foster and his colleagues at the Harvard Forest encompass the native people and prehistory of the Vineyard, climate change and coastal dynamics, colonial farming and modern tourism, as well as land planning and conservation efforts. Each of these has helped shape the island of today, and each also illuminates possibilities for future caretakers of the island's ecology. Foster affirms that Martha's Vineyard is far more than just a haven for celebrities, presidents, and moguls; it is a special place with a remarkable history and a population with a proud legacy of caring for the land and its future.
Seeking a closer connection with nature than the manicured lawns of suburbia, naturalist Fred Gehlbach and his family built a house on the edge of a wooded ravine in Central Texas in the mid-1960s. On daily walks over the hills, creek hollows, and fields of the ravine, Gehlbach has observed the cycles of weather and seasons, the annual migrations of birds, and the life cycles of animals and plants that also live in the ravine.
In this book, Gehlbach draws on thirty-five years of journal entries to present a composite, day-by-day almanac of the life cycles of this semiwild natural island in the midst of urban Texas. Recording such events as the hatching of Eastern screech owl chicks, the emergence of June bugs, and the first freeze of November, he reminds us of nature's daily, monthly, and annual cycles, from which humans are becoming ever more detached in our unnatural urban environments. The long span of the almanac also allows Gehlbach to track how local and even global developments have affected the ravine, from scars left by sewer construction to an increase in frost-free days probably linked to global warming.
This long-term record of natural cycles provides one of only two such baseline data sets for North America. At the same time, the book is an eloquent account of one keen observer's daily interactions with his wild and human neighbors and of the lessons in connectedness and the "play of life" that they teach.
This volume consists of a selection of English translations from the extensive writings of Dr. Francisco Hern ndez (1515-87). Celebrated in his own day as one of Spain's leading physicians and naturalists, he is now best remembered for his monumental work on the native plants and materia medica of central Mexico.
Sent to New Spain in 1570 by King Philip II to research and describe the natural history of the region, to assess the medical usefulness of the natural resources, and to gather ethnographic materials for an anthropological history, Hern ndez was the first trained scientist to undertake scientific work in the New World. For seven years he gathered information throughout the Valley of Mexico, learning Nahuatl, recording local medical customs, studying indigenous medicines, and writing down all his observations. The result was The Natural History of New Spain, written in Latin, which consisted of six folio volumes filled with descriptions of over 3,000 plants previously unknown in Europe (along with descriptions of a much smaller number of animals and minerals) and ten folio volumes of paintings by Mexican artists illustrating the plants and animals he described.
Hern ndez died before he could publish his Natural History, and the materials were placed in the Escorial, where they were extensively consulted, copied, abstracted, and translated by generations of scientists, medical specialists, and natural philosophers before they were destroyed by fire in 1671. Hern ndez's work was still regarded as authoritative on a number of New World botanical topics as late as the nineteenth century, and his writings remain in use in popular form in Mexico today.
Only a tiny fragment of the Natural History has previously appeared in English. The selections in this volume are designed to reflect the historical patterns of dissemination of the work of Hern ndez, giving modern readers a sense of which portions of his vast corpus entered scientific discourse and spread across two continents in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.