The Way of Natural History

About the Book

The Way of Natural History

May 2011
Trade Paperback · 204 Pages
$16.95 U.S. · £11.99 U.K. · €12.99 E.U.
ISBN 9781595340740
Trinity University Press


In this eclectic anthology, more than 20 scientists, nature writers, poets, and Zen practitioners, attest to how paying attention to nature can be a healing antidote to the hectic and harrying pace of our lives. Throughout this provocative and uplifting book, writers describe their various experiences in nature and portray how careful, and mindful, attention to the larger world around us brings rewarding and surprising discoveries. They give us the literary, personal, and spiritual stories that point a way toward calm and quiet for which many people today hunger. Contributors to The Way of Natural History highlight their individual ways of paying attention to nature and discuss how their experiences have enlivened and enhanced their worlds. The anthology is a rich array of writings that provide models for interacting with the natural world, and together, create a call for the importance of natural history as a discipline.

About the Author

Robert Aitken was master of the Diamond Sangha, a Zen Buddhist society he cofounded with his wife. One of the elders of Zen Buddhism in North America, he published more than ten books, including Taking the Path of Zen, The Mind of Clover, and Zen Master Raven. Until his death in 2010, he was a longtime resident of Hawai’i.

John Anderson grew up in Britain, New Zealand, and California and currently holds the William H. Drury, Jr. Chair in Evolution, Ecology, and Natural History at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he has taught for over twenty years. He has studied marine birds and the relationship between cultural history and ecological patterns on Maine’s coastal islands throughout this time. He recently served as president of the Society for Human Ecology, and he is chair of the Human Ecology Section of the Ecological Society of America.

Paul Dayton has been on the faculty of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography for almost four decades, conducting research on marine ecosystems throughout the world—including kelp forests, rocky intertidal communities, and Antarctic benthic communities. He has served on numerous scientific advisory boards and has received many awards and honors, including the E.O. Wilson Naturalist Award from the American Society of Naturalists and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Society of Naturalists. He is the only person to receive both the Mercer and Cooper awards from the Ecological Society of America.

Alison Hawthorne Deming, professor of creative writing at the University of Arizona, is the author of three books of poetry and three books of creative nonfiction. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her work often explores the boundary between artistic and scientific ways of viewing the world.

Cristina Eisenberg is a conservation biologist and nature writer who lives in northwestern Montana, where she studies wolves and other carnivores on both sides of the international border. She is a doctoral candidate at Oregon State University, where she has received many honors for her work, including a Boone and Crocket fellowship. She is at work on a book, Landscapes of Hope: Trophic Cascades and Biodiversity.

Wren Farris lives on a small farm in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains of far northern California. For several years she has managed and coordinated conferences and green events for Bioneers and other organizations. Her writing, which explores the connections between landscapes, poetics, and human relationship to place, has appeared in Orion, Mountain Gazette, and other periodicals.

Thomas Lowe Fleischner is a naturalist, conservation biologist, and teacher. The author of two books—Singing Stone: A Natural History of the Escalante Canyons and Desert Wetlands—and numerous articles, he is a professor of environmental studies at Prescott College, in Arizona, where he has taught for over two decades. Cofounder of the North Cascades Institute and founding president of the Natural History Network, he has also served on the board of governors of the Society for Conservation Biology and as president of its Colorado Plateau Chapter.

Dave Foreman, a wilderness and conservation visionary, is the author of Rewilding North America and Confessions of an Eco-Warrior and the eco-thriller The Lobo Outback Funeral Home. After working many years for the Wilderness Society, he cofounded the Earth First! Movement and became publisher of Wild Earth. He is founding executive director of the Rewilding Institute, based in New Mexico.

Charles Goodrich is a poet and essayist who worked as a professional gardener for twenty-five years. He is the author of the poetry collection Insects of South Corvallis and the essay collection The Practice of Home, and coeditor of In the Blast Zone: Catastrophe and Renewal on Mount St. Helens. He is the program director of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word at Oregon State University.

R. Edward Grumbine, director of the Sierra Institute wilderness studies field program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for two decades, now teaches environmental studies at Prescott College in Arizona. He is the author of Ghost Bears: Exploring the Biodiversity Crisis and the editor of Environmental Policy and Biodiversity. His current project is the book The Dragon Meets the Angry River: Conservation in the People’s Republic of China.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of six books of poetry, including After and Given Sugar, Given Salt. Her collection of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, is considered a classic in the field. She has also edited and cotranslated three books collecting the work of women poets from the past. Her awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets, multiple appearances in The Best American Poetry series, the Poetry Center Book Award, California Book Award, and finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T.S. Eliot Prize in Poetry. She lives in northern California.

Robin Wall Kimmerer teaches botany and forest ecology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, where she is the director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. Her work attempts to integrate traditional ecological knowledge of indigenous peoples with perspectives from contemporary biological sciences. Of Potawatomi descent, she is the author of Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, for which she was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing.

Ken Lamberton has written five books, including Wilderness and Razor Wire, an account of his relationship with nature while in prison, which won the John Burroughs Medal. He has written more than a hundred articles and essays, and his work appears in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000. He lives in southern Arizona.

Robert Macfarlane is a fellow in English Literature at Cambridge University in Great Britain. Among his many writings are two books: Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination and The Wild Places, which have both won multiple awards and were filmed by the BBC. He writes on literature, travel, and the environment for many publications in Britain and North America.

Kathleen Dean Moore is an essayist, activist, parent, and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and University Writer Laureate at Oregon State University. She is the author of Riverwalking: Reflections on Moving Water, Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World, The Pine Island Paradox, and the forthcoming Wild Comfort: A Book of Healing, as well as academic textbooks on moral philosophy. These books have won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award, the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, and the Outstanding Academic Book Award.

Robert Michael Pyle is a lepidopterist, biogeographer, and author of fourteen books, including Wintergreen, Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide, Walking the High Ridge: Life as Field Trip, and the definitive field Butterflies of Cascadia. He has played a key role in the popularization of butterfly watching in North America and has received numerous awards, including the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing, a Guggenheim fellowship, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. He spent 2008 traversing North America, net in hand, seeking to observe as many species of butterflies as possible.

Sarah Juniper Rabkin is a writer, editor, and visual artist with a background in science journalism. She grew up in Berkeley, California, in the 1960s and 1970s, and now lives near Monterey Bay with her husband, poet Charl
Copyright © 2011 by Trinity University Press