Sav­ing Tar­boo Creek

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Climate Change -

Scott Free­man, Su­san Leopold Free­man (Il­lus­tra­tor) Tim­ber Press (JAN­UARY) Hard­cover $25.95 (228pp), 978-1-60469-794-0

In the tra­di­tion and spirit of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Al­manac, Sav­ing Tar­boo Creek de­scribes the long, pa­tient process of restor­ing a nat­u­ral land­scape to its orig­i­nal healthy state, mod­el­ing both ecol­ogy restora­tion and per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with na­ture.

The author and his wife, who is the grand­daugh­ter of Aldo Leopold, ded­i­cate their lives to restor­ing the habi­tat of a salmon run and the sur­round­ing for­est in this en­joy­able, per­sonal tale of hu­mans and na­ture. In be­tween gor­geous de­scrip­tions and fam­ily sto­ries, the book de­scribes the dam­age done by habi­tat era­sure, thought­less ex­ploita­tion of land, and cli­mate change. This in­cludes dev­as­ta­tion wrought by in­va­sive plant species and some of the chal­lenges associated with re­build­ing a nat­u­ral habi­tat from scratch.

Near the end of the book, the nar­ra­tive also cov­ers the emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact of sep­a­rat­ing hu­mans from the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment. Though the author’s po­si­tion—that de­pres­sion, ad­dic­tion, and cell phone de­pen­dency are symp­toms of sep­a­ra­tion from na­ture—is based largely on apoc­ryphal ev­i­dence, it is a valid philo­soph­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion and will res­onate with au­di­ences fa­mil­iar with The Last Child In The Woods, by Richard Louv.

Sav­ing Tar­boo Creek is a beau­ti­ful mix­ture of lush de­scrip­tion, eco­log­i­cal ac­tivism, and life­style ad­vice, dec­o­rated through­out with wa­ter­col­ors of life at Tar­boo Creek. If any book were to woo hu­man­ity back to the for­est through sheer, earnest charm, it would be this one.

Sav­ing Tar­boo Creek is a quick, com­par­a­tively light read that will ap­peal to a broad range of au­di­ences. It may par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est younger adults who are look­ing for a stronger con­nec­tion to the nat­u­ral world. How­ever, avowed en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists who find them­selves frus­trated with the avail­able op­tions for sav­ing the earth may also find this tale of small, quiet change to be in­spi­ra­tional.

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