Category: Nature (Page 1 of 2)

Pioneering conservationist Fannye Cook was truly a Mississippi hero

By Jim Ewing. Special to the Clarion Ledger Sunday print edition (November 27)

fannye cookFor many outdoors enthusiasts in Mississippi, Dorothy Shawhan’s book Fannye Cook might be described as one about the most influential person you never met.

The term “hero” is often overused, but in this case, Cook lives up to the label, as Shawan details.

Approximately 150,000 people (mostly children) annually stream through the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, says former director Libby Hartfield, who contributed to the book. And that is directly due to Cook, who founded it and served as its director until her retirement in 1958.

Of import to hunters, fisherfolk, birders, conservationists, and others, however, Cook was instrumental in creating what is now the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

Her impact goes even beyond that.

As Shawhan describes, Cook, a graduate of what is now Mississippi University for Women, began her lifelong study and promotion of Mississippi’s natural resources in 1926. The wildlife population in Mississippi—including its most popular game species—was threatened by lack of habitat, overhunting, and overfishing.

“The forest resources that had covered 95 percent of the state in 1800 were practically gone by 1930,” Shawan reports.

Cook, with the help of the federal Depression-era Works Progress Administration, conducted a comprehensive plant and animal survey in Mississippi that she designed. Traveling across the state speaking to local groups and schools, she spearheaded a successful effort for public education and scientific research of wildlife resources.

The results of her efforts were twofold:

  • After her pushing for seven years, the state Legislature approved creation of a state game and fish commission in 1932 to regulate and conserve natural resources;
  • To house the enormous data she amassed, she was instrumental in opening the state’s first natural science museum in 1939 for the survey’s “28,732 fish, reptiles, birds, plants, amphibians, and mammals collected.”

It was an incredible turnaround in the public’s appreciation and support for habitat that lives on today.

Subtitled “Mississippi’s Pioneering Conservationist,” the book delves into the obstacles that stood in Cook’s path both personal and professional, as a woman in a “man’s” field, as well as her achievements and friendships along the way.

It’s full of recognizable names, including author Eudora Welty, with whom she lived as a boarder in Welty’s Jackson home, and Aldo Leopold, considered by many the father of wildlife ecology in the United States, with whom she collaborated.

Cook serves as a role model not only for women, but for all who have a dream and are willing to work tirelessly to achieve it.

Cook’s work and memory live on with the museum, the state’s largest, that now houses more than 1 million scientific specimens, along with creation of the 2,600-acre Fannye Cook Natural Area in Rankin County soon slated to open to the public. It’s the brainchild of Wildlife Mississippi, which also helped underwrite this book.

Shawhan, a Delta State University professor, died during course of writing the book and the manuscript was completed by Marion Barnwell, professor emerita at Delta State, and Hartfield. It’s a fascinating account of a most extraordinary Mississippian.

Jim Ewing, a former writer and editor at the Clarion-Ledger, is the author of seven books, and serves or has served on numerous state, regional and national boards involving wildlife conservation, forests, agriculture and food.

Marion Barnwell and Libby Hartfield will be at Lemuria to sign and read from Fanny Cooke on Sunday, December 3, at 11:30 a.m.

Come Check Out My Spring Display (Pt 1)

Despite all the rain of the past few days, spring means a number of very sunny and happy things to me. So in honor of this most wonderful time in Mississippi, during the two-week period when we don’t all feel like we will surely die from wretched, wet cold or suffocate from the stifling heat, we can all walk outside our homes and just say “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”



I have built a display. This display is what spring means to me and essentially all of the things it makes me want to do. I feel certain I’m not the only one who gets the planting bug in the spring. I have a particular fondness for succulents and terrariums. Why you might ask? Well that is because they are low maintenance, they are clean and fresh looking, and depending on your arrangement, they can look rather elaborate. I like to appear like I know what I’m doing, people. And I truly, to goodness do not. I was not blessed with the green thumb of father and mother. It is not necessarily a black thumb; I fondly call it my gray thumb. So in this situation everyone wins…including the plants. If anyone feels so inclined, I’ve placed a book on this display for each of these loves. One is called Terrarium Craft, the other Hardy Succulents. Another favorite is Tiny Terrarium. If you are interested ask me and I’ll show it to you! Essentially you create scenes inside your terrarium with people and any manner of thing. I know Joan Hawkins Interiors had the makings for these things.


Anyhow moving on…spring also makes me want to spruce my house up. Justina Blakeney’s new book The New Bohemians makes me want to completely rethink my entire decorating scheme – just completely start all over again. I love the clean lines of a mid-century furniture, but lord knows I can cram a lot of stuff in a space and hang a lot of art on the walls. So does this make me a modern bohemian, as a section in her book suggests? I have many questions left on this matter, but honestly this book is a feast for your eyes. Blakeney has gotten quite a lot of acclaim for design aesthetic over the past few years, and this book only further proves why. Now if I really want to build on what I’ve got (which my mother would say is my best option), I should really invest in the new Apartment Therapy Complete + Happy Home. This book pulls from a little bit of everywhere just like their incredible blog of the same name (Apartment Therapy…in case you missed that part). I mean this book talks about it all, down to the frames you use for your art, without being overwhelming and nitpicking. Oh I almost forgot to mention that The New Bohemians has great DIY projects in it which segues into my next desire of spring…CRAFTING.

I pretty m9781617691751uch always love to make something, but I think the whole new life thing that comes along with spring really does something to me. A book I’ve been drooling over for quite some time now is The Modern Natural Dyer. Not only is it a gorgeous book, but it also tells you how to dye fibers with flowers, vegetables, and spices. Basically head on over to the grocery store and make a mess because I love to make a mess. It’s the cleaning up that presents a problem for me. This book has twenty projects for your home and your wardrobe, including knitting and sewing. Pretty amazing if you think about it. “Oh, why yes, I did make this! I dyed it as well. Eat your freaking heart out!!!” Next up on the docket we have Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed (that’s me). So this book’s projects are broken down into sections of spray paint, plaster, concrete, paper, thread, wax, wood, and the list goes on. I could definitely get into a modern looking concrete cake stand or some precious wax bud vases. There is more to come about this display, but I feel like I am close to losing all of you so I will leave you here

2015, I’d like to kiss you on the mouth.

dbdb37f2-a00d-4114-b5d6-1e42a0bc65cfThis year was a doozy. I consumed everything from nonfiction about animal consciousness to the modern classic Fates and Furies by Lemuria’s new best friend, Lauren Groff. I can’t even get into the second paragraph without telling you that The Godfather was hands down my favorite read of the year. You can read my blog about it here. I had the chance to sit down and talk to Garth Risk Hallberg about his meteoric rise in the literary world. Jon Meacham made me cry.

I personally made the move from the hub that is Lemuria’s front desk to the quieter fiction room, where I now am elbows deep in the mechanics of our First Editions Club; and am coincidentally even more in love with fiction than I was before. My TBR pile has skyrocketed from about 10 books to roughly 30 on my bedside table. It’s getting out of control and I love it.

[Sidebar: This year, I fell even more in love with graphic novelsNimona surprised us all by making one of the short-lists for the National Book Award, and we were so pleased to see it get the recognition that it deserves. Go Noelle Stevenson! You rule!]

As a bookstore, we were able to be on the forefront of some of the most influential books of 2015 (see: Between the World and Me– when we passed that advance reader copy around, the rumblings were already beginning). Literary giants Salman Rushdie, John Irving, and Harper Lee put out new/very, very old works to (mostly) thunderous applause, and debut novelists absolutely stunned and shook up the book world. (My Sunshine Away, anyone? I have never seen the entire staff band behind a book like that before. We were/are obsessed.) Kent Haruf’s last book was published; it was perfect, and our hearts ache in his absence.

We marched through another Christmas, wrapping and reading and recommending and eating enough cookies to make us sick. We hired fresh new faces, we said goodbye to old friends, we cleaned up scraggly, hairy sections of the store and made them shiny and new. We had the privilege of having a hand in Mississippi’s first ever book festival. We heaved in the GIANT new Annie Leibovitz book, and spent a few days putting off work so that we could all flip through it. In short, this year has been anything but uneventful; it’s been an adventure. So here’s to 2016 absolutely knocking 2015 out of the park.

Read on, guys.



Gifting the Perfect Book: Passionate Environmentalists and Animal Lovers

I love animals. All of them. The cute ones, the dangerous ones, the ones that sleep in our houses, and the ones that hide in remote rainforests, only ever exposing themselves to a few, lucky sets of human eyes.

I’m guessing you probably love animals too. Maybe you have a couple of dogs, cats, or goldfish at home; or maybe you take your nieces and nephews to the zoo when they’re in town; or maybe your computer wallpaper features a sleepy-eyed koala front and center (mine is a snow leopard). Regardless of how it manifests itself, a love for animals is shared by three out of every four Americans.

Jacket (1)Well, guess what… They’re all dying… or at least a lot them are. So says Elizabeth Kolbert in her Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Sixth Extinction.

Kolbert, author of the acclaimed Field Notes from a Catastrophe and a staff writer at the New Yorker since 1999, spent several years traveling the globe learning from scientists in various fields who study the changing environment and its effects on Earth’s animal and plant life. Her conclusion? By the end of the century, 20 to 50 percent of all species will be extinct.

The first several chapters of the book cover the five mass extinctions chronicled in the fossil record, including the most recent extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. From mollusks to mastodons, Kolbert handles the dearly departed species with delicacy, and presents the science behind their disappearance in a way that is easily digested for the layperson. She also describes the gradual acceptance of mass extinctions among scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries led by the likes of Cuvier and Darwin. The idea that an individual species could disappear from the earth entirely was hard to imagine only three hundred years ago. The idea that a force could eliminate species en masse was totally unthinkable.

Jumping to the present, Kolbert travels from Central America, where beloved frog species have disappeared in a matter of years, to the coast of Australia, where coral reefs home to thousands of species are receding due to increased ocean acidification. She introduces the idea that we are living in a new epoch called the Anthropocene in which human activity has become the dominant factor impacting the natural world. Since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, scientists estimate that around one to five species went extinct each year. Fast-forward to the Anthropocene, and the rate is now more than a dozen species each day!

In one of the most memorable anecdotes of the book, Kolbert explains the arrival of the brown tree snake on the island of Guam via military ships in the 1940s. Devoid of any natural predators, the snake “ate its way through most of the islands native birds” lacking any natural defense from the foreign predator and reduced the island to one native species of mammal. “While it’s easy to demonize the brown tree snake, the animal is not evil; it’s just amoral and in the wrong place,” says Kolbert. It has done “precisely what Homo sapiens has done all over the planet: succeeded extravagantly at the expense of other species.”

For such grim content, the book remains surprisingly upbeat. From chapters entitled “Dropping Acid” to a detailed scene of a zookeeper sticking a gloved hand up the rectum of a rhino, Kolbert does her best to maintain a sense of humor throughout. Most importantly, she ends on an optimistic note, focusing on the successful efforts that can and are being done to save species. “People have to have hope. I have to have hope. It’s what keeps us going.”

Here’s to hoping that the koala on your screen will be around for generations to come.


The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

invention of natureAndrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature tells the forgotten story of Alexander von Humboldt of Prussia (1769-1859). Some of our counties, cities, rivers, lakes and mountains are even named after Humboldt.

Alexander von Humboldt was an energetic learner, a bold adventurer of the natural world and the most famous scientist of his age. Through study and courageous expeditions through the Americas and Russia, Humboldt discovered the relationship between vegetation zones and climate zones by examining the similarities between plants on different continents.

Through his travels, Humboldt also became the first to predict and discuss climate change. Many North American settlers argued that every virgin tree that was cut down improved the air quality and increased the winds that blew across the continent. Other outspoken settlers believed that the wilderness was actually “deformed” as a cesspool of decaying leaf matter, parasites, and venomous insects. Humboldt was the first to see the larger picture of nature, to see how all of the parts worked together.

Humboldt reported how deforestation through mining and farming in America and Europe caused springs to dry up entirely or rivers to rage out of control causing erosion. He saw another upset in the balance of natural environment when Spanish monks harvested turtles eggs without leaving hardly any for the next generation. It’s no wonder Humboldt is regarded by many as the father of environmentalism.

Wulf’s story of Alexander von Humboldt is a page-turning read. She brings Humboldt to life through his relationships with familiar figures like Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Darwin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Simón Bolívar. Through her sensitive and passionate eye for detail and her gift of story, Wulf makes Humboldt’s scientific contributions vibrant and appealing to a broad range of readers.

Sit down. It’s time to talk about consciousness.

My husband is falling asleep across the table from me, in full view of the bar.

In his defense, we have just left a giant party that we attended in order to raise money for The Jackson Free Clinic, an incredible organization for which he regularly busts his ass. He is tired. He took a test today to end a rotation, and “only made a B” [insert my eye rolling here]. Tomorrow he starts a new rotation at the hospital and he is already dreading the all-night shifts, and here am, at this loud bar, making him drink whiskey and eat fish tacos because I just had to find out why there were so many movie trailers outside, and the only way to be cool about it is to pretend we were already planning on coming here anyway, and “oh, what are these trailers doing here? Filming a movie? How inconvenient!” (It’s a horror movie, by the way, and I am very disappointed that I am not now fast friends with at least one of the Affleck brothers.)

JacketTo top all of this off, I will not shut up about octopuses. You heard me right, I cannot shut my pie hole about the spineless cephalopods crawling around on the ocean floor, and my poor, exhausted husband is trying so hard to pay attention. In his defense, he really does care because he is, after all, a man of science. Circumstances are simply preventing him from giving me his full attention. Why do I have such a wealth of knowledge about the ageless octopus, you ask? It is because I am still coming down from the book high that came from finishing Sy Montgomery’s new masterpiece The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness (which was just longlisted for the National Book Award in the nonfiction category).

Montgomery, author of several acclaimed books like The Good Good Pig, brings such a personal element to this book about ancient cephalopods that it is impossible to not be swept away on the journey with her. Early on in the book, Montgomery explains the history in the scientific community of ascribing consciousness to animals. Until recently, scientists have been wary to put too much stock behind attributing specific and complex personalities to animals due to the fear that we would simply project our own human ideas of what consciousness is, and completely misunderstand the science behind why animals do what they do. If an animal like the octopus shows extreme intelligence, it is so tempting to assume that they have the same complex feelings that humans do, and that is a big no no.

So how is it possible to go on an incredibly personal journey when your writing is prefaced with this giant warning about not getting too emotional? Surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly at all), setting aside our ideas of human consciousness and making room to understand a completely new and alien kind of intelligence is transformative. Montgomery was able to learn to love the octopuses that she came into contact with in a fresh way, a way that made room for an unfathomable, yet nevertheless emotional, bond.

Although it is impossible to completely detach and not project at least some human feelings onto the octopus, several things were made clear to me throughout reading this book. Octopuses are each unique; shy, adventures, solitary, grumpy, or playful. They get itchy. They get bored. Octopuses remember. They seem to take comfort in the presence of an old friend, relaxing and asking to be petted when visited by someone that they like. They forget things in their old age. Their arms contain roughly two thirds of their neurons, meaning that each of the eight arms kind of does have a mind of its own. They taste with their skin, which is how they recognize the humans that they fear/enjoy, and how they hunt the waters around them.

Sy Montgomery fell in love, specifically with two or three of the giant Pacific octopuses housed at the New England Aquarium in Boston. The aquarium is a sprawling, magical complex with exhibits ranging from feisty penguins to grumpy eels, and a webcam fixed in their Giant Ocean Tank, which you can watch here (I have had trouble doing anything else today, especially when Myrtle, the ancient sea turtle who lives in the tank, swims up the camera and rolls around flirtatiously in the water). Montgomery also forged friendships with the volunteers, regular members, and staff that surrounded her, and tenderly peeked into each of their lives, making the book both rich and sad at times. These people bonded over their love of the mysterious octopuses that brought them together, and they left each day mystified and changed.

This nonfiction book about octopuses and the cosmic questions that surround consciousness made me cry. CRY. And I laughed, too, totally in love with how little I know, and at the intoxicating thirst for knowledge that this book gave to me.

It’s hard to explain this strange combination of new facts and the overwhelming feeling of smallness that this book gave to me over drinks while my husband is falling asleep. But don’t worry, I’ve already bookmarked about 100 articles and videos on the miracle that is the octopus, and we’ll be exploring them very soon. To my husband: hope you weren’t planning on reading the Sunday Times this weekend, because I’ve got other plans for us. Time to talk cephalopods.

Environmental Creative Nonfiction: a fascinating niche of literature despite its horrendous umbrella term

First off, introductions: Hello all, there’s a new Maggie of Lemuria in town!

Well, not really. You might recognize my face. I’ve been in and out of the Lemuria rotating staff since the summer of 2013 before my senior year of high school. After a summer internship in Oz, I worked part-time as a senior, learned enough to provide an extra hand to wrap or work Oz during the holidays, and here we are. I just keep coming back, even after my freshman year at Ole Miss. I’m working on an English degree my parents still disapprove of.

Okay, glad we got that out of the way.

Recently, I’ve become acquainted with the genre of “environmental creative nonfiction”. Bear with me- it’s a fascinating niche of literature despite its horrendous umbrella term.

When I say environmental creative nonfiction, I’m talking about adventure pieces by John Krakauer, Cheryl Strayed’s wilderness memoir Wild, and Rick Bass’s diary-style Winter: Notes from Montana. What these pieces have in common are their personal narratives of growth and experience as influenced by their environment. The environment becomes a character within the work because it plays such a crucial role in where the piece goes.

unnamedOne of my favorite pieces within this highly specific genre is David George Haskell’s
The Forest Unseen. I was first introduced to this work in Nature Writing, an English course I was lucky enough to weasel my way into during my second semester. I was mostly in it for the chance to get some real writing critique and a trip to Costa Rica (lemme tell you friends, it was awesome), but I was lucky enough to also be exposed to some really phenomenal works of nonfiction.

David George Haskell is a professor of biology at Sewanee, and The Forest Unseen follows what he refers to as “A Year’s Watch in Nature”. Haskell observes a one-square-meter patch of old-growth forest, referred to as the mandala, for an entire year. The work is divided into chapters concerning specific anecdotes and aspects of life in the mandala, from fungi to insects to plant and animal interaction, touching on how all are linked together in a complex web. Everything is intensely researched and backed up with scientific fact. There are detailed descriptions of life cycles, bizarre adaptations, histories of scientific discovery. But what makes The Forest Unseen such a phenomenal book is Haskell’s skilled weaving of the scientific and the spiritual.

It begins with Haskell’s use of the term “mandala”. Mandalas are small circular sand drawings that are representative of the entirety of the universe and are in the tradition of Tibetan monks. From this one concept, Haskell brings into his book a complex layer of spirituality. He alludes to many different branches of faith and their relationship to the environment, discusses the nature of souls within the concept of the natural world, and draws parallels between his observations and religious concepts. By discussing spirituality in relation to science within the concept of the mandala, Haskell connects humanity to the environment, something we so often tend to view as some inconceivable other.

I want to put this book into everyone’s hands. I look for any excuse to recommend it to someone, but it is such a hard book to quickly summarize. It is about so much. It is about humanity and the environment and religion and science and the relationship between it all. It is about the past and the future. It has the power to speak to you if you let it.

In short, Haskell transforms a potentially dry, textbook subject into an ethereal reading experience (okay, maybe it’s a bit dry at the beginning but you can’t have everything). He creates intoxicating yet informative prose that reads like a poetry collection and a textbook. He brings the environment he observes to life, lets it breathe on the page and gives it a voice. Haskell has me head-over-heels in love with environmental creative nonfiction, and I have a feeling this is going to be a rather drawn-out love affair.

Books We Love That No One Will Buy

The title says it all.

Here by Richard McGuire

Jacket (20)This lovely graphic novel chronicles the entire history of one small space of earth. In 8,000 BCE a bog trickles out to the edges of the page; while in 1989, a house has been built on that very spot and two couples share cocktails and jokes in front of a dated coffee table. The geographical location never wavers, but to watch time weave in and out, changing the curtains,Jacket (19) the rivers, and the wildlife- it feels so strange to have so much history sandwiched between so few pages. A mother stands in front of a window in the corner of the room and shows her baby the moon, and a bison sleeps exactly where the hearth will be in over 10,000 years.

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

More books of essays, always, is my motto. Slone Crosley has set up camp with authors like David Sedaris, Kelly Oxford, and Jenny Lawson. In her perfectly hilarious collection of recollections and murmurings on her own life and the lives of those who surround her, Crosley salutes the normal, the every day, the stupid. There is a piece about toy ponies in a kitchen drawer.

Jacket (33)Get In Trouble: Stories by Kelly Link

I already wrote a blog about how great this book is. Read it here.

My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman

Jacket (17)Okay people. Why does no one buy Maira Kalman’s books?? This is beyond me. Kalman, writer, painter, children’s book author and illustrator, collaborator, art lover, and student of life, has put out yet another thoughtful and heart-tugging book. My Favorite Things is a collection of thoughts, memories, and objects that have gathered significance over the years. Similar to And The Pursuit of Happiness and The Principles of UncertaintyMy Favorite Things attributes poignant meaning to even the smallest of things. Instead of feeling forced or overly emotional, Kalman keeps her thoughts short and simple.

“There is no reason to save tickets and stubs. They are tiny and inconsequential. But I do save them and remember that number twenty-three was from the coat check at the restaurant where I ate the lemon tart. The number is so elegant and honest. And the lemon tart was SO GOOD.”

The Who, the What, and the When by Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman, and Matt Lamothe

Jacket (16)This book sheds light on the lives of people who lived in the shadows of their famous spouses, bosses, friends, and neighbors. Each mini biography is a page long, paired with unique portraits from more than 40 artists. Included in this collection is Charles Bukowski’s editor, Coco Chanel’s lover, Al Capone’s mentor, and Emily Dickinson’s dog. Did you know that Rosalind Franklin discovered that DNA had two forms and her research allowed Francis Crick and James D. Watson to prove the helix shape of DNA? Yeah well, now you do.

The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

Jacket (14)Rene Denfeld stuns with this crystal clear novel about a death row inmate during his last days and the movements of his death penalty investigator as she tries desperately to uncover the truth surrounding his case. This novel is an incredibly hard sell because of the subject matter, but never have I experienced a book so concisely and exquisitely written. In the words of a customer, “not a word is wasted”. The Enchanted is set in a timeless, fuzzy landscape that is intent on keeping to the background so that the characters can take the main stage. It is a quiet, still book, with gleaming bits of gold shining through the cracks.

The Book of Beetles: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature’s Gems edited by Patrice Bouchard

Jacket (15)I have spent hours looking at this book. Hours. When it was given to me as a birthday gift, I feared that it would simply sit on my shelf, collecting dust after one thorough looking-through, but in the few months since it was given to me, I have taken it back out and poured over it again and again. The encyclopedic collection documents hundreds of different types of beetles, their countries of origin, eating habits, mating rituals, significant physical markers, and include a life-size photo of each specimen. You guys, I don’t even like beetles. Except now I do. Strange how knowledge creates passionate curiosity. Please don’t shy away from this book just because you think bugs are icky. Pick it up, because nature is freaking awesome.

The Man Who Planted Trees: Lost Groves, Champion Trees, and an Urgent Plan to Save the Planet by Jim Robbins

david millarch

David Milarch by a redwood stump near San Geronimo, California Photo: Jim Robbins/Redux

The story begins when New York Times contributor Jim Robbins reads an article about the Champion Tree Project, a project aimed at cloning all 826 species of trees in the United States from champion trees, the fittest trees of every species.

The Champion Tree Project is led by David Milarch, a humble shade tree nurseryman from Michigan. Milarch began the project following a near-death experience after which he received a message that “the big trees were dying” and his job was to do something about it.

You might be thinking, as Robbins did when Milarch told him the story, is this guy for real? Robbins explains that this was “the most unusual origin of a science story [he’d] ever heard.”

jim robbins

Jim Robbins


Over the years Robbins keeps in contact with Milarch and pursues the questions inspired by Milarch’s effort to nurture our planet with trees:

How do trees communicate with each other?

How do trees and to what extent do they filter water and air for all life on the planet?

How do they prosper and how do they die?

The result is a lively and urgent exploration among scientists that as our climate changes the right trees planted in the right place for the right reasons might save our planet.

man who planted treesThe story of David Milarch and the Champion Tree Project is a passionate testament to the power of one and the ability of a grass roots effort to stimulate a scientific community often stymied by their own expertise. The Man Who Planted Trees, printed on 100% post consumer fiber, is as pleasurable as it is educational.

Canoeing Mississippi by Ernest Herndon

canoeing mississippiAs soon as I got into the introduction of Canoeing Mississippi by Ernest Herndon I realized that this was not just a book for canoeing enthusiasts. Anyone interested in our natural state, our abundance and variety of rivers will find the armchair travel delightful.

You might not immediately associate Mississippi with canoeing but Herndon describes over 2,000 miles of waterways. Yes, some of these are muddy and mosquito filled! However, Herndon does us a great service describing the great variety of rivers we have: the 150-mile long Chunky River which makes it way through rocky cliffs into the Buckatunna; the heavily wooded Leaf River; the whitewater Okatoma; the Tangipahoa which flows into Lake Ponchartrain; the 400-mile long Pearl River running from Northeast Mississippi all the way to the Honey Island Swamp, including the beautiful Bogue Chitto River as its tributary; and finally our Gulf Coast terrain includes the complex, ever-changing Wolf River.


Okatoma River


If you decide to leave your armchair for the canoe, you’ll benefit from Herndon’s 30-plus years of experience of canoeing in Mississippi. River by river you’ll learn about boats and gear, paddle strokes, camping and navigation. To enrich your float, you’ll find Canoeing Mississippi to also be an abundant source on history and adventure stories, geology, wildlife, ecology and fishing techniques.

Bogue Chitto River in Pike MS by Greg Gibson

Bogue Chitto River in Pike MS by Greg Gibson

wolf river canoes

Canoes on the Wolf River


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