America’s WILD READ

by Bradley Watkins
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Whether you are a nature enthusiast, book lover, young conservationist, student, teacher, or Refuge friend, you are invited to join America’s Wild Read community. WILD READ discussions are ongoing and we start a new book or essay the first day of each month. This discussion forum is provided to you by the Friends of the National Conservation Training Center.

  • Connecting people with nature by sparking interest through reading books and essays
  • Encouraging a culture of sharing and story-telling about refuges and places we love in nature
  • Assisting in public learning of a land ethic to become better stewards of the nation’s natural resources
  • Creating a meaningful sense of place in nature

For teachers of high-school students and college freshman: Include America’s Wild Read in your classroom or environmental club activities. A Discussion Guide is available for teachers to help guide discussions and activities.

This month, our pick is The Wolf’s Tooth by Cristina Eisenberg, a conservation biologist at Oregon State University and a Boone and Crockett Fellow. Eisenberg studies how wolves affect forest ecosystems throughout the West — and will also serve as moderator!

Discussion Calendar:

Week 1 August 1-6 Aldo Leopold and the Mark of the Wolf’s Tooth
Week 2 August 7-13 Why the Earth is Green: Trophic Cascades on Land and Water
Week 3 August 14-20 Yellowstone and Beyond: Fear as an Ecosystem Engineer
Week 4 August 21-27 Creating Resilience: Trophic Cascades and Climate Change
Week 5 August 28-31 Finding Common Ground: Trophic Cascades and Ecosystem Management

The Book

Anthill: A Novel by E.O. Wilson
The book will be discussed May 15 to July 2.
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (April 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0393071197 378 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0393071191 Hardcover cost $9.00 – $16.50 Electronic edition around $9.00.

Why this book?

We wanted connections to the themes from the National Wildlife Refuge Visioning Process, Conserving the Future. We asked readers what they wanted. One refuge biologist told us that a story or novel would be a welcome “change of pace after all the non-fiction books I read for work.” A student intern thought that Anthill would be “something I would be more willing to read in the evening.”

The Essays

Something “old” and something “new”
The essays will be discussed May 1 to May 14.

“Thinking Like a Mountain” by Aldo Leopold from his classic book, A Sand County Almanac, Originally published in 1949. Learn more about Aldo Leopold: http://www.aldoleopold.org/AldoLeopold/almanac.shtml
Read the essay: “Thinking Like a Mountain” (pdf)

“The Once and and Future Land Ethic” by Curt Meine (Director for Conservation Biology and History, Center for Humans and
Nature; Senior Fellow, Aldo Leopold Foundation)
From the book, Correction Lines: essays on land, Leopold, and conservation by Curt Meine. Copyright © 2004 Curt Meine. Reproduced by permission of Island Press, Washingon, D.C.

Why did we choose these essays?

In social and ecological contexts, “The Once and Future Land Ethic” propels Leopold’s deepest, landscape-level thinking into the future. We can contrast this contemporary essay with the original essay that helped launch the conservation movement, “Thinking Like a Mountain.”

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