Friday, March 29, 2013



PVNWG welcomes salamander season with our April author David Carroll's Swampwalker's Journal: A Wetlands Year.

From the Barnes and Noble site:
David Carroll has dedicated his life to art and to wetlands. He is as passionate about wetlands, and the creatures who live there, as most of us are about our families and closest friends. He has stayed in touch with individual turtles for twenty years, watching them dig into hibernation in the winter, greeting them as they emerge in the spring, following them as they breed, feed, and roam through the warmer months. He knows frogs and snakes, bears and beavers, muskrats and minks, dragonflies, caddis flies, birds, water lilies, pickerel weed, cattails, sedges, and everything else that swims, flies, trudges, slithers, or sinks its roots in swamp, marsh, or bog.

In Swampwalker's Journal Carroll shares his knowledge and passion with the rest of us, taking us on a miraculous year-long journey, illustrated with his own elegant drawings, through the wetlands, and revealing why they are so important to his life and ours - and to all life on Earth.

Boston Globe
But it is Carroll's gift of sensing the ecosystem while detailing egg mass or footprint that sets him apart. The fact that he can set this all in prose and finely crafted pen and inks and watercolors proved that he is of Renaissance caliber. His hungry eye devours all of life.
Entertainment Weekly
In the final volume of his "wet-sneaker trilogy" (following The Year of the Turtle and Trout Reflections), naturalist Carroll covers four seasons of wading through mashes, swamps, bogs, and fens. [His] eye for detail serves him well, whether he's spying on a tiny garter snake struggling to suck down a much larger wood frog or watching a raccoon savagely digging a turtle out of its shell.
Thomas Palmer
Though he presents his findings as an illustrated daybook, this is no simple record of facts, but a thorough account of the distinguishing features of swamps, marshes, floodplains, bogs, and vernal pools, indexed to aid reference....Carroll's quiet manner and effortless sensitivity to detail suffuse his wet-bottomed landscapes with a dreamlike quality shaded by knowledge of how quickly such places can disappear.
Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Reviews
There is no greater wetland emissary than Carroll, who takes to the funk and spook of a swamp with avidity and returns to masterfully tell of its scarce-visited glories. "To have a bit of the landscape to oneself, to not be crowded in the landscape of the current epoch, one is almost obliged to withdraw to the swamp." Then again, Carroll  would venture there even if he were the last person on Earth, for he loves the place, along with vernal pools, marshes, floodplains, peatlands, fens, the whole nine freshwater-wetland yards. Here Carroll relates with enthusiasm, always gracefully pitched, the sheer pleasure to be had in visiting wetlands in all seasons. Nowhere else can you witness blue flag and red canary grass tipping the hand of an unmown pasture that is also a vernal pool come spring, complete with trilling thrush, drilling insects, five species of obligate salamanders, and a chorus of peepers that draws you in toward "a center of almost unbearable intensity

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Gretel Erlich's The Solace of Open Spaces for March 2013

PVNWG members meet at a member's home on March 24 to discuss our impressions of Gretel Erlich's The Solace of Open Spaces

Born in 1946 in Santa Barbara, California, Erlich began to write full time in 1978 while living on a Wyoming Ranch, after the death of a loved one. In 1985, she drew immediate acclaim with The Solace of Open Spaces, a collection of essays.

From the publisher: Writing of hermits, cowboys, changing seasons, and the wind, Ehrlich draws us into her personal relationship with this "planet of Wyoming" she has come to call home. She captures the incredible beauty and the demanding harshness of natural forces in these remote reaches of the West, and the depth, tenderness and humor of the quirky souls who live there. Ehrlich, a former filmmaker and urbanite, presents in these essays a fresh and vibrant tribute to the new life she has chosen.
"Ehrlich's best prose belongs in a league with Annie Dillard and even Thoreau. The Solace of Open Spaces releases the bracing air of the wilderness into the stuffy, heated confines of winter in civilization." San Francisco Chronicle
Click here to read an interview with the author about her 2001 work Cold Heaven.
Click here for biography of the author.
Selected Works:
  • To Touch the Water, 1981,
  • The Solace of Open Spaces,  1985
  • Heart Mountain,  1988,
  • Drinking Dry Clouds: Stories from Wyoming, 1991
  • Islands, the Universe, Home, Viking Press, 1991
  • Arctic Heart: A Poem Cycle, Capra Press, 1992
  • A Match to the Heart: One Woman's Story of Being Struck by Lightning, 1994
  • John Muir: Nature's Visionary,National Geographic Society, 2000
  • This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland,  2001
  • The Future of Ice: A Journey Into Cold,  2004
  • In the Empire of Ice: Encounters in a Changing Landscape, National Geographic Society, 2010
  • Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami, 2013