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nature

Book cover artwork for "Rooted"
Little Brown, Spark

In "Rooted," cutting-edge science supports a truth that poets, artists, mystics, and earth-based cultures across the world have proclaimed over millennia: life on this planet is radically interconnected. Our bodies, thoughts, minds, and spirits are affected by the whole of nature, and they affect this whole in return. In this time of crisis, how can we best live upon our imperiled, beloved earth?

Award-winning writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s highly personal new book is a brilliant invitation to live with the earth in both simple and profound ways—from walking barefoot in the woods and reimagining our relationship with animals and trees, to examining the very language we use to describe and think about nature.

Suzanne Simard is one of the world's leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest. Her new book is "Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest."

Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she illuminates the fascinating and vital truths - that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complex, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Book cover for "A Most Remarkable Creature"
Knopf

In 1833, Charles Darwin was astonished by an animal he met in the Falkland Islands: handsome, social, and oddly crow-like falcons that were "tame and inquisitive . . . quarrelsome and passionate," and so insatiably curious that they stole hats, compasses, and other valuables from the crew of the Beagle. Darwin wondered why these birds were confined to remote islands at the tip of South America, sensing a larger story, but he set this mystery aside and never returned to it.

Almost two hundred years later, Jonathan Meiburg takes up this chase. He takes us through South America, from the fog-bound coasts of Tierra del Fuego to the tropical forests of Guyana, in search of these birds: striated caracaras, which still exist, though they're very rare.

Meiburg joins us to discuss his new book "A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World's Smartest Birds of Prey."

Book cover for "Life's Edge"
Dutton

We all assume we know what life is, but the more scientists learn about the living world, the harder it is to define. Whether it’s a fertilized egg or a tree, scientists have had a hard time agreeing on a definition that would universally apply.

In his new book, "Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive," New York Times bestselling author and columnist Carl Zimmer takes readers on a journey from Mother Nature’s most awe-inspiring creations to the most cutting-edge research in search of an answer.

Analia Saban b. Buenos Aires, 1980; lives and works in Los Angeles  Teaching a Cow How to Draw 2020 Cedarwood Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles
Sarah LaDuke / WAMC

The Clark Art Museum is currently presenting its first outdoor exhibition on the museum’s extensive and bucolic grounds in Williamstown, Massachusetts. “Ground/work” features site-responsive sculptural creations by six different contemporary artists placed around The Clark’s 140 acre campus.

Organized by the Clark, under the leadership of guest curators Molly Epstein and Abigail Ross Goodman, Ground/work is free and open to the public and will be on view into October of 2021.

Book cover for "Planetary Health"
islandpress.org / islandpress.org

Dr. Sam Myers is a Principal Research Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and founding Director of the Planetary Health Alliance. He joins us now to tell us about the new book he has co-edited: "Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves."

Human activity is driving the fastest changes in our global environment in the history of our species, and these planetary changes threaten the very foundations of human health by affecting the quality of our air and water, the amount and quality of the food we produce, our exposure to infectious disease and natural hazards, even the habitability of the places we live.

Dr. Myers says to address these threats, we need to establish a different trajectory. The good news is that we know how to do everything differently—across every sector we have powerful solutions that can be taken to scale—the question is will we? Planetary Health lays out the science and the politics behind the challenges as well as the potential solutions.

Grandmother Maple at Flying Deer Nature Center
Sarah LaDuke

Flying Deer Nature Center in East Chatham, New York is a wilderness school and community dedicated to mentoring children, adults, and families in deep connection to nature, self, and others.

The staff at Flying Deer guide people of all ages in school and homeschool programs, summer camps, corporate curriculums, rites-of-passage experiences, and adult programs - facilitating a full nature immersion.

For my semi-immersion, Executive Director Michelle Apland and Program Director Devin Franklin led me around.

Landing on Joy Photograph: Elm and locust logs, flour  5’x7’x3’
mimigraminski.com

Mimi Czajka Graminski is a multi-disciplinary artist working in a variety of media - sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, photography, video. Her work is wide ranging, but is consistently based in the exploration of materials, light and color. She joined us to discuss her current work and creativity during Covid-19.

Gardening As Self-Care

Jul 31, 2020

The garden is often seen as a refuge, a place to forget worldly cares, removed from the “real” life that lies outside. But when we get our hands in the earth we connect with the cycle of life in nature through which destruction and decay are followed by regrowth and renewal.

The new book, "The Well-Gardened Mind," provides a new perspective on the power of gardening to change people’s lives. Sue Stuart-Smith investigates the many ways in which mind and garden can interact and explores how the process of tending a plot can be a way of sustaining an innermost self.

Stuart-Smith’s own love of gardening developed as she studied to become a psychoanalytic psychotherapist.

Book Cover for "Outside Looking In" and author photo of T.C. Boyle
Author Photo - Jamieson Fry

T.C. Boyle's novel, "Outside Looking In," takes readers back to the 1960s and to the early days of LSD.

The book tells the story of Harvard Ph.D. students whose lives veer out of control after they are drawn into the orbit of renowned psychologist and LSD enthusiast Timothy Leary.

The Opalka Gallery presents a 25-year survey of the work of JoAnne Carson in an exhibition entitled “JoAnne Carson: Rise Up and Shine!”

Carson’s work is on view in the gallery now and there will be an opening reception and artist talk on Friday, February 7.

Carson, who is a Professor of Studio Art and Graduate Director Art & Art History at UAlbany has established a unique artistic voice that merges references to the natural world with unexpected materials and colorful world-building.

She has received many awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Louise Bourgeois Residency from Yaddo, and an artist grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

JoAnne Carson joins us along with the Director of The Opalka Gallery, Judie Gilmore.

Terry Tempest Williams is renowned for her singular body of literature on the environment and our experiences of home.  Her new book “Erosion: Essays of Undoing,” explores this connection, particularly to her home state of Utah, as an evolutionary process and how our undoing of the self, self-centeredness, extractive capitalism, fear, tribalism can also be our becoming, creating room for change and progress.

Karen Auvinen is a poet, mountain woman, lifelong westerner, writer, and the author of the memoir "Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living."

Determined to live an independent life on her own terms, Karen Auvinen flees to a primitive cabin in the Rockies to live in solitude as a writer and to embrace all the beauty and brutality nature has to offer. When a fire incinerates every word she has ever written and all of her possessions - except for her beloved dog Elvis, her truck, and a few singed artifacts - Karen embarks on a heroic journey to reconcile her desire to be alone with her need for community.

Richard Louv’s landmark book, "Last Child in the Woods," inspired an international movement to connect children and nature. Now Louv redefines the future of human-animal coexistence. "Our Wild Calling" explores these powerful and mysterious bonds and how they can transform our mental, physical, and spiritual lives, serve as an antidote to the growing epidemic of human loneliness, and help us tap into the empathy required to preserve life on Earth.

"Our Wild Calling" makes the case for protecting, promoting, and creating a sustainable and shared habitat for all creatures: not out of fear, but out of love. The book looks to point us toward what look for in the age of technology: real connection.

Why spend countless hours indoors in front of screens when being in nature feels so good? In learning why and how to nurture our emotional connection with nature, we can also regenerate the ecosystems on which we depend for our survival.

"Renewal: How Nature Awakens Our Creativity, Compassion, and Joy" by Andrés R. Edwards explores the science behind why being in nature makes us feel alive and helps us thrive.

On Thursday, October 10, Bard College will feature author Isabella Tree presenting her new work “Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm,” winner of the 2019 Richard Jefferies prize for nature writing and chosen by Smithsonian as a top 10 science book for 2018.

The event takes place at 5 p.m., in Weis Cinema, Bertelsmann Campus Center and is is sponsored by the Bard Center for Civic Engagement, Office of Sustainability, Environmental and Urban Studies Program, and Lifetime Learning Institute.

Isabella Tree writes for publications such as National Geographic, Granta, and the Guardian, and is the author of five nonfiction books. Her latest book charts the story of the pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex where she lives with her husband.

Farming has been in John Connell's family for generations, but he never intended to follow in his father's footsteps. Until, one winter, after more than a decade away, he finds himself back on the farm.

Connell records the hypnotic rhythm of the farming day—cleaning the barns, caring for the herd, tending to sickly lambs, helping the cows give birth. Alongside the routine events, there are the unforeseen moments when things go wrong: when a calf fails to thrive, when a sheep goes missing, when illness breaks out, when an argument between father and son erupts and things are said that cannot be unsaid.

"The Farmer’s Son" is the story of a calving season, and the story of a man who emerges from depression to find hope in the place he least expected to find it.

The view from The Bell Tower at Olana - glasses less peaked windows in the foreground and a view of the Hudson River Valley below - a green landscape and an overcast sky
Sarah LaDuke

In Frederic Church’s Ombra: Architecture in Conversation with Nature” is a new exhibition on view at Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, New York. Hudson River School painter Frederic Church worked with Central Park architect Calvert Vaux to create Olana’s main house. Their design incorporated vast Hudson Valley views. A key space in Olana’s main house design is the “Ombra”, an outdoor room which is a transition zone between the central Court Hall and the surrounding landscape. In the new exhibition, several architects have paired with visual artists and other designers to develop their concepts and treatments regarding the indoor-outdoor spaces at Olana.

The exhibition is guest-curated by Barry Bergdoll, the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University and a curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Featured speakers from our visit to Olana, in addition to Barry Bergdoll: Senior Vice President and Landscape Curator at The Olana Partnership, Mark Prezorski; Jennifer Sage, one of the architects who created work for “In Frederic Church’s Ombra: Architecture in Conversation with Nature,” Sage and Coombe Architects is located in New York City and led by Jennifer Sage and Peter Coombe; and Stan Allen, an architect working in the Hudson River Valley and George Dutton ’27 Professor of Architecture at Princeton University.

“In Frederic Church’s Ombra: Architecture in Conversation with Nature” is on view through November 3, 2019.

Hailed as "the great nature writer of this generation,” Robert Macfarlane is the author of books about the intersections of the human and the natural realms. In his latest, "Underland," he delivers an exploration of the Earth’s underworlds as they exist in myth, literature, memory, and the land itself.

In the sequel to his bestseller "The Old Ways," looks into our relationship with darkness, burial, and what lies beneath the surface of both place and mind. Traveling through “deep time,” the dizzying expanses of geologic time that stretch away from the present, he moves from the birth of the universe to a post-human future.

Robert Macfarlane is the author of best-selling, prize-winning books about nature, place, and people, including "Mountains of the Mind," "The Old Ways," "Landmarks," and "The Lost Words." In 2017 he was awarded the E. M. Forster Prize for Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

This morning we learn about the Battenkill Chorale’s 2019 Spring Concert: Te Deum: New American Songs of Nature and Praise taking place this weekend.

The program features joyful and uplifting music of Dan Forrest, Jake Runestad and Donald McCullough. While Founding Artistic Director, Janet McGhee, recently announced her retirement from the Battenkill Chorale. Guest conductor, Noah Palmer, will direct the spring performance.

Palmer, a fine pianist, is currently Assistant Director of Albany Pro Musica, Assistant Conductor of the Broad Street Chorale and Orchestra and Music Director at St. Helena’s Episcopal Church in Lenox. He has also directed the Northern Berkshire Chorale and conducted the Skidmore College Opera Workshop.

Richard Powers spent a year under the redwoods of California. That reflection led to his novel, "The Overstory," about the world of trees and a band of people determined to change the way it’s perceived.

“The Overstory” won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and we will re-air our interview with Powers on this week’s Book Show.

This program features a clip of the audiobook of “The Overstory” presented by Recorded Books and RB Digital. Used with permission.

During his regular days in London, Kenneth Grahame sat behind a mahogany desk as Secretary of the Bank of England; on weekends he retired to the house in the country that he shared with his fanciful wife, Elspeth, and their fragile son, Alistair, and took lengthy walks along the Thames in Berkshire.

The result of these pastoral wanderings was his masterful creation of "The Wind in the Willows," the enduring classic of children's literature; a cautionary tale for adult readers; a warning of the fragility of the English countryside; and an expression of fear at threatened social changes that, in the aftermath of the World War I, became a reality.

"The Man in the Willows: The Life of Kenneth Grahame" is by Matthew Dennison; the author of several critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, including "Over the Hills and Far Away: The Life of Beatrix Potter."

Listener Essay - Amidst The Rain

Feb 7, 2019
a burbling stream
Bob Slack

  Debbie Slack was honored to be a recipient of the 2018 Edwin Way Teale Artist in Residence at Trail Wood sponsored by the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Inspired by the residency, Debbie has been writing a series of essays which has expanded into a memoir titled "Trail Wood: A Love Story." Debbie is also focused on publishing her novel, "Margaret Mary and the Gutsy Girls." She is excited for their story to leave the comforts of home and venture out into the hearts of girls everywhere. Outside of writing, Debbie enjoys exploring nature with her husband, Bob, and their two Labradors.

~Amidst the Rain~

On this February eleventh I am torn, not knowing where I need to be. Will stepping into nature provide what I require? What I am searching for?

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, "Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country." In it, she delivers her most profound meditations yet on how "to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief to love the damaged world and do what she can to help it thrive."

On her 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies, Houston learned what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it. Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all.

Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, the ranch becomes Houston's sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect.

Houston will be at Northshire Bookstore in Manchster Center, Vermont on February 24.

  Our Falling into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

This morning we focus on the Phillies Bridge Farm Project – a Hudson Valley not-for-profit working farm with a mission to promote local sustainable agriculture, to provide CSA shareholders with abundant organically grown vegetables and herbs, to share part of the harvest with people in need, and to educate people of all ages about the sources of healthy food and the study of nature. We are joined by board members and co-presidents Ariana Basco, Brian Obach, and board member and treasurer Terence Ward.

  This week's Book Picks from Lily Bartels at The Open Door Bookstore and Gift Gallery in Schenectady, NY.

List:
"Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love" by Dani Shapiro
"Never Home Alone: The Natural History of Where We Live" by Rob Dunn
"The Dakota Winters" by Tom Barbash
"After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet" by Julie Dobrow
"The Travelling Cat Chronicles" by Hiro Arikawa
"Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year" by Nosy Crow and Fiona Waters

Jessica Hornik will be reading and signing "A Door on the River: Poems" at three events over the next few weeks. She will be at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, New York tonight, at Russell Sage in Troy, New York on October 25, and she will participate in the Volume Reading Series at Spotty Dog Books and Ale in Hudson, New York on November 10.

In her first book, Hornik’s poems carry power rooted in nature, place, and family. "A Door on the River" marks the emergence of a beautiful, confident voice in the landscape of American poetry. Jessica Hornik was born in Albany and was raised in Clifton Park. She earned degrees from Cornell and New York University.

Susan Hand Shetterly has written about wildlife and wetlands for more than thirty years, in both articles and books, including "Settled in the Wild," a collection of essays.

In "Seaweed Chronicles," Shetterly takes readers deep into the world of this essential organism by providing an immersive, often poetic look at life on the rugged shores of her beloved Gulf of Maine, where the growth and harvesting of seaweed is becoming a major industry.

While examining the life cycle of seaweed and its place in the environment, she tells the stories of the men and women who farm and harvest it and who are fighting to protect this critical species against forces both natural and man-made.

Christopher White has written numerous books, including "Skipjack: The Story of America’s Last Sailing Oystermen" and "The Melting World: A Journey Across America’s Vanishing Glaciers." His articles have appeared in Audubon, The Baltimore Sun, The New Mexican, National Geographic, and Exploration.

In his new book, "The Last Lobster: Boom or Bust for Maine's Greatest Fishery?" he follows three lobster captains: Frank, Jason, and Julie (one the few female skippers in Maine), as they haul and set thousands of traps.

For the past five years, the lobster population along the coast of Maine has boomed, resulting in a lobster harvest six times the size of the record catch from the 1980s an event unheard of in fisheries. In a detective story, scientists and fishermen explore various theories for the glut. Leading contenders are a sudden lack of predators and a recent wedge of warming waters, which may disrupt the reproductive cycle, a consequence of climate change. Unexpectedly, boom may turn to bust, as the captains must fight a warming ocean, volatile prices, and rough weather to keep their livelihood afloat.

The Flying Deer Nature Center in New Lebanon, New York is a wilderness school and community dedicated to mentoring children, adults, and families in deep connection to nature, self, and others.

Their educators guide people of all ages in nature immersion and education. Michelle Apland is the Executive Director of Flying Deer Nature Center.

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