Books by IJNR Alumni
The Golden Shore: California’s Love Affair with the Sea (February 2013)
by David Helvarg (Savannah River 1999, Acadia 1998). From the first human settlements to the latest marine explorations, The Golden Shore tells the tale of the history, culture, and changing nature of California’s coasts and ocean. Author David Helvarg takes the reader on both a geographic and literary journey along the 1,100-mile Pacific coastline, from the Oregon border to the San Diego/Tijuana international border fence and out into its whale-, seal-, and shark-rich offshore seamounts, rock isles, and kelp forests.Part history, part travelogue, part love letter, The Golden Shore tells the story of California’s majestic coastline and ocean. A Denver Post bestseller, and named one of Booklists’ “Top Ten Literary Travel Books” of 2013.
Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal (February 2013)
by Melanie Warner (Great Waters 2004). In the tradition of Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma comes a fascinating and cutting-edge look at the scary truth about what really goes into our food. If a piece of individually wrapped cheese can retain its shape, color, and texture for years, what does it say about the food we eat and feed to our children? Former New York Times business reporter and mother Melanie Warner decided to explore that question when she observed the phenomenon of the indestructible cheese. She began an investigative journey that took her to research labs, university food science departments, and factories around the country. What she discovered provides a rare, eye-opening—and sometimes disturbing—account of what we’re really eating. Warner looks at how decades of food science have resulted in the cheapest, most abundant, most addictive, and most nutritionally inferior food in the world, and she uncovers startling evidence about the profound health implications of the packaged and fast foods that we eat on a daily basis.
Traveling the Power Line: From the Mojave Desert to the Bay of Fundy (March 2013)
by Julianne Couch (Wisconsin Watersheds 2012). In our power-hungry world, all the talk about energy—what’s safe and what’s risky, what’s clean and what’s dirty, what’s cheap and what’s easy—tends to generate more heat than light. What, Julianne Couch wanted to know, is the real story on power production in this country? Approaching the question as a curious consumer, Couch takes us along as she visits nine sites where electrical power is developed from different fuel sources. From a geothermal plant in the Mojave Desert to a nuclear plant in Nebraska, from a Wyoming coal-fired power plant to a Maine tidal-power project, Couch gives us an insider’s look at how power is generated, how it affects neighboring landscapes and the people who live and work there, and how each source comes with its own unique complications.
Dirty, Sacred Rivers: Confronting South Asia’s Water Crisis (October 2012)
by Cheryl Colopy (2000 Pacific Northwest, 2001 Wildfire, 2002 Southern Cascadia). This nonfiction book explores South Asia’s increasingly urgent water crisis, taking readers on a journey through North India, Nepal and Bangladesh, from the Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal. The book shows how rivers, traditionally revered by the people of the Indian subcontinent, have in recent decades deteriorated dramatically due to economic progress and gross mismanagement. Dams and ill-advised embankments strangle the Ganges and its sacred tributaries. Rivers have become sewage channels for a burgeoning population.
Call of the Mild (2012)
by Lily Raff McCaulou (2006 Blue Mountains). When Raff McCaulou traded in an indie film production career in New York for a reporting job in central Oregon, she never imagined that she’d find herself picking up a gun and learning to hunt. She’d been raised as a gun-fearing environmentalist and an animal lover, and though a meat-eater, she’d always abided by the principle that harming animals is wrong. But Raff McCaulou’s perspective shifted when she began spending weekends fly-fishing and weekdays interviewing hunters for her articles, realizing that many of them were more thoughtful about animals and the environment than she was.
Adrift in the Sound (2012)
by Kate Campbell (2002 Southern Cascade). In 1973, frazzled Seattle street artist Lizette Karlson tries to pull herself together and turns to the Franklin Street Dogs for help. This low-life tavern softball team is a horrifying choice for a fractured spirit like Lizette, who’s only trying to stay warm and make it through another rainy night. The Dogs think she’s a head case and don’t realize that while Lizette’s beautiful, talented, and a bit off kilter—she’s also cunning and dangerous.
Killer on the Road (2012)
by Ginger Strand (2009 Puget Sound). This novel tells the entwined stories of America’s highways and its highway killers. There’s the hot-rodding juvenile delinquent who led the National Guard on a multistate manhunt; the wannabe highway patrolman who murdered hitchhiking coeds; the record promoter who preyed on “ghetto kids” in a city reshaped by freeways; the nondescript married man who stalked the interstates seeking women with car trouble; and the trucker who delivered death with his cargo. Thudding away behind these grisly crime sprees is the story of the interstates — how they were sold, how they were built, how they reshaped the nation, and how we came to equate them with violence.
Three Wishes: A True Story of Good Friends, Crushing Heartbreak, and Astonishing Luck on our Way to Love and Motherhood (2010)
Pam Ferdinand (Acadian 2009) Pam has been busy writing a book for the past couple of years. All that busyness paid off, though: the book has been sold in several other countries and has now been optioned for a film! This story tells the tale of three women — all journalists, all single, all childless — and eight apparently magical, never-used vials from an anonymous donor.
Diminishing Resources: Oil (2009)
Tim Gardner (Salmon Country 2005, Energy Country 2008). This book is one of a four-part series for high-schoolers that also covers water, soil, and forests. Looking back on his sources for inspiration he says, “I first realized I could write a book on energy for kids during [IJNR's] Energy Country institute in 2008.”
Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health and the Promise of Green Chemistry (2009)
Elizabeth Grossman(Golden Gate 2000). In this book, Elizabeth explores the harmful world of synthetic chemicals that we have created and in which we currently live — and offers the suggestion that this is a problem we can fix.
Keepers of the Windclaw Chronicles (2009)
Seth Muller (Klamath Country 2004) — a series of stories for young readers that follow the adventures of a young Navajo girl as she reunites the human and animal worlds. “This young-reader fiction series is certainly inspired by my past work as an environmental journalist,” Muller says. “The concepts of how we interact with the natural world and how we adopt policies and behaviors that benefit or degrade the environment play into the storyline’s theme.”
From Jars to Stars: How Ball Came to Build a Comet-Hunting Machine (2010)
Todd Neff (Energy Country 2006). Distributed by Earthviewmedia, Todd’s book has received very posiitive early reviews by several prominent NASA and space-science leaders.
Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed (2010)
Judy Pasternak (Energy Country 2009). Judy tells the story of the Navajo’s complicated — and tragic — relationship with uranium mining and the U.S. government.
Pandora’s Locks: The Opening of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway (2010)
Jeff Alexander (Great Waters 2005). His narrative describes politicians and engineers, driven by hubris and handicapped by ignorance, who demanded that the Seaway be built at any cost. Further, he argues that government agencies could have prevented ocean freighters from dumping foreign species into the lakes. Instead, the ships unleashed a biological shift that has harshly reconfigured the world’s largest freshwater ecosystems. Eric Reeves, former U.S. Coast Guard staff officer for Great Lakes ballast water policy, says Jeff’s book “tells the twisted story of this exotic disaster — and the story of our abject failure to prevent it—in a manner more complete and more understandable than any other work…ever likely to be written.”
Shell Games: Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty (2010)
Craig Welch (Pacific Northwest 2000, High Country 2007). Centered on the story of the two-year-long chase of a geoduck poacher, Harper Collins calls this book “a cops-and-robbers tale set in a double-crossing world where smugglers fight turf wars over some of the world’s strangest marine creatures.”
Saved By The Sea: A Love Story with Fish (2010),
a memoir by David Helvarg (Acadian 1998, Savannah River 1999). Sylvia Earle, the ocean explorer and author, says: “Read Saved by the Sea for pleasure, read it for adventure, read it because it conveys the gift of being allowed to slip into David Helvarg’s world and view the ocean, and humankind, with profound new understanding. But beware: This book has the power to change the way you think about the world, about yourself, and the future of humankind.”
Children of the Klondike (2010)
Frances Backhouse (Puget Sound 2009). Explores the era of the Klondike gold rush, and “draw[s] on letters, journals, contemporary accounts, and memoirs, and looks at the lives of the youngsters who witnessed the treasure hunt of the century firsthand.” Frances is a freelance magazine writer and author based in Victoria, British Columbia.
Breaking Ground: The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Unearthing of Tse-whit-zen Village (2009)
Lynda Mapes (High Country 1998). Explores the past and present culture of the Lower Elwha Klallam, as well as the state of Washington’s unprecedented decision to walk away from a $70 million public works project, after cultural artifacts were discovered on-site.
Galapagos at the Crossroads: Pirates, Biologists, Tourists and Creationists Battle for Darwin’s Cradle of Evolution (2009)
Carol Ann Bassett (Pacific Northwest 1999). Paints an alarming picture of the Galapagos today, where a collision of economics, politics and the environment threaten this wild place.
Revolt on Goose Island: The Chicago Factory Takeover, and What it Says About the Economic Crisis (2009)
Kari Lydersen(Great Waters 2005, Energy Country 2008, Willamette Valley 2008, Beaver Islands 2010). Explores the surprising and ultimately triumphant takeover, a story of labor activism in the 21st century.
Naked in the Woods: Joseph Knowles and the Legacy of Frontier Fakery (2008)
Jim Motavalli (Acadian 1998), editor of E, the Environmental Magazine. Part adventure story and part cultural analysis, Jim’s book examines the adventures of a mountain man turned media-stunt man. The book is dedicated to the memory of former IJNR staffer Andrew Weegar, who planted the idea in Jim’s head somewhere along the Penobscot River while they were rafting and canoeing during the Institute.
Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun (2008)
Kari Lydersen (Great Waters 2005, Energy Country 2008, Willamette Valley 2008, Beaver Islands 2010). Along with Iraqi artist, Wafaa Bilal, offers a stunning look at the life of the artist during an online, participatory art experiment, in which viewers were invited to “shoot an Iraqi” — Bilal — with a paintball gun.
Owls of North America (2008)
Frances Backhouse (Puget Sound 2009). Explores the lives and habits of these iconic birds.
The Muskegon: The Majesty and Tragedy of Michigan’s Rarest River (2007)
Jeff Alexander (Great Waters 2005). Examines the creation, uses of, devastation, and restoration of Michigan’s historic and beautiful Muskegon River, the state’s second longest river that runs 227 miles and has the most diverse features of any of Michigan’s many rivers.
Kim Todd (High County 1997). Examines the life of Maria Sibylla Merian, a pioneering explorer/naturalist who traveled to South America in 1699 to study insect metamorphosis. Kim’s book also traces ideas about metamorphosis through time.
Sacred Sea: A Journey to Lake Baikal (2007)
Peter Thomson (High Country 1995, Pueblo Country 1998, Wildfire 2001). Peter relates an intimate account of his travels to the world’s largest, deepest, and oldest body of freshwater, Lake Baikal.
Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America (2007)
Rocky Barker (High Country 1995). Explores how one of the nation’s most memorable fire seasons re-shaped American fire policy.
City Adrift: New Orleans Before & After Katrina (2007)
co-authored by Sara Shipley Hiles (Pacific Northwest 1999). Explores the fate of this iconic American city, as well as the failure of the government to respond properly to the catastrophe.
The Great Lakes Water Wars (2006)
Peter Annin (High Country 1998). The book argues that the Great Lakes region has entered an era of unparalleled tension over water issues. Governors and premiers in the basin recently unveiled a plan designed to protect waters of the Great Lakes from diversions and overuse. But water is an emotional issue throughout the region, and the proposal has caused confusion in many quarters. Much of the debate has shed more heat than light, and the wrangling over this latest Great Lakes water-management plan is bound to drag on for years. Peter’s book focuses on that plan, the colorful history behind it, and the uncertainties of the region’s water future. It also puts Great Lakes water woes in a global context. One reviewer of the book is Michael Dombeck, a former chief of the U.S. Forest Service who is now a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He concludes that Peter’s book “should be required reading for anyone whose life depends on Great Lakes water.”
The Green Tiger: The Costs of Ecological Decline in the Philippines (2005)
Barbara Goldoftas (Acadian 1997). Recounts how the country’s once-lush forests were felled and its coral reefs were largely destroyed. Rapid harvest of once-abundant resources brought droughts, deadly flash floods and the collapse of vital fisheries. As the rural economy weakened, millions migrated to cities and overwhelmed the urban infrastructure. Today, the archipelago illustrates profound and sweeping consequences of ecological decline. Barbara’s book also traces the struggle for conservation in the Philippines and describes surprising ways in which conservation and economic growth can effectively co-exist.
Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World Record Largemouth Bass (2005)
Monte Burke (Acadian 1999), a former writer for Sports Afield. It would appear that Monte has ventured into the sleep-deprived lives of terminally addicted fishermen. Tom Brokaw calls Monte “the Homer of America’s fishing world” who takes readers on “an epic journey filled with great drama, colorful characters and elusive largemouth bass that are determined to stay at the bottom of the lake.”
Woodpeckers of North America (2005)
Frances Backhouse (Puget Sound 2009). Offers a definitive references about one of North Aerica’s most distinctive groups of birds.
Out of the Sea and Into the Fire: Latin American-U.S. Immigration in the Global Age (2005)
Kari Lydersen (Great Waters 2005, Energy Country 2008, Willamette Valley 2008, Beaver Islands 2010). Offers tales from various migrants from Latin America, in both their homelands and the U.S.
Viet Cong at Wounded Knee: The Trail of a Blackfeet Activist (2004)
Woody Kipp (High Country 1995). A highly personal memoir about the difficulties of cross-cultural understanding. It reflects on Woody’s boyhood on the Rez, his early passion for reading and basketball, his alcoholism and brawl-scarred adolescence, tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine and later at Wounded Knee as a foot soldier in the American Indian Movement.
Organ Pipe: Life on the Edge (2004)
Carol Ann Bassett (Pacific Northwest 1999). Part of the University of Oregon’s Desert Places Series, this book introduces readers to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument’s natural and cultural heritage.
Chechnya Diary: A War Correspondent’s Story of Surviving the War in Chechnya (2003)
Thomas Goltz (High Country 1997). This memoir focuses on the war in Chechnya, in particular the massacre at Samashki, the town that, in early 1996, was essentially wiped out by Russian troops.
Green Phoenix: Restoring the tropical Forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica (2002)
William Allen (High Country 1995). Delves into the effort to restore a tropical forest, and details the financial, political, social and scientific conflicts that cropped up along the way.
A Gathering of Stones: Journeys to the Edges of a Changing World (2002)
Carol Ann Bassett (Pacific Northwest 1999). Explores connections between culture and place in the Sonoran Desert, Mexico’s Barranca del Cobre, the Yukon Territory, the Kalahari, the Andes and the Galapagos. This book was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in creative nonfiction.
Tinkering with Eden: A Natural History of Exotics in America (2001)
Kim Todd (High County 1997). Recounts stories of non-native species and how they arrived in the United States. Starlings, for example, were the gift” of a man who decided that New York City’s Central Park should have all the birds mentioned by Shakespeare.
Hiking with Ghosts: The Chilkoot Trail, Then and Now (1999)
Frances Backhouse (Puget Sound 2009). Frances travels along the historic gold rush trail through Alaska and into Canada, combining equal parts of human history and natural history.
The Secret Language & Remarkable Behavior of Animals (1998)
Janine Benyus (High Country 1997). Janine draws from extensive research of animal behaviorists and explains why and how these creatures scratch, run, bathe, preen, stretch, yawn, play and eat, court their mates, confront one another, give birth to young and keep them fed.
Mark of the Grizzly: True Stories of Recent Bear Attacks and the Hard Lessons Learned (1998)
Scott McMillion (High Country 1995). Explores the rare cases of bear attacks, and our complex relationship with these creatures.
Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature (1997)
Janine Benyus (High Country 1997). Investigates the revolutionary science that draws inspiration from nature’s best ideas and applies it to human issues, problems, and questions.
The Next West: Public Lands, Community, and Economy in the American West (1997)
co-authored by Rocky Barker (High Country 1995). Explores what has gone wrong with the American West, and how to find a path to a “Next West.”
Saving All the Parts: Reconciling Economics and The Endangered Species Act (1993)
Rocky Barker (High Country 1995). Offers an overview of endangered species controversies, and their relationship with human activities and economic policies.