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Nature's Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm Paperback – February 1, 2010

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Nature's Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm + Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land (The Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration Series) + The Restoring Ecological Health to Your Land Workbook (The Science and Practice of Ecological Restoration Series)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This page-turner for nature lovers will captivate readers who have harbored fantasies of moving back to the land and who will appreciate its mingling of environmental theory, policy prescription and vivid personal anecdote. Inspired by Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac, Apfelbaum, founder and president of Applied Ecological Services, dreamt of a home that would allow me... to become deeply involved with the land, where I could live simply. He founded Stone Prairie Farm in southern Wisconsin on 80 acres, surrounded by cornfields, farm machinery and grazing cattle. The book relates the 30-year adventure of restoring the farm to prairie, following the author as he befriends the neighbors and finds a mate. With her, he gathers native seeds by bicycle, engages in controlled—and some not-so-controlled—burning, negotiates with hunters and gardeners as the land becomes a prime spot for deer and wild turkeys, and inspires his local community, as well as the reader, to consider a more ecologically friendly and spiritually satisfying relationship with the land. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Ecologist Apfelbaum wanted to put into practice what he learned about restoring damaged ecosystems on land of his own. He purchased a 150-year-old farmhouse and eventually, thanks to the success of his visionary consulting business, Applied Ecological Services, acquired 80 acres of southern Wisconsin farmland. By dint of ardent research and relentless hard work, Apfelbaum and his partner, Susan Marie Lehnhardt, transformed land long depleted by corn crops, pesticides, and invasive species into a thriving prairie resplendent with wildflowers and resurgent birds, butterflies, and wildlife. Part treatise on ecological restoration—with fascinating forays into the history of the Midwest, Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, the role of fire in prairie ecosystems, and the damage done by industrialized, monoculture farming—this utterly compelling tale is also an eco-memoir. By revealing his struggles, missteps, and fears, and telling stories about the evolving understanding of his initially skeptical neighbors, Apfelbaum shares the deeply emotional dimension of his commitment to native species and land restoration, arousing, in turn, the reader’s own feeling for place. Apfelbaum’s book is as rich in farming adventure, environmental ideas, and profound insights as a restored prairie is rich in life and beauty. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807085960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807085967
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Zane Eisman on July 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First full disclosure: I have known Steve Apfelbaum and Susan Lehnhardt for ten years. I have visited the farm several times, shared meals, walks with Max, and kicked back to enjoy the critters flitting and chirping around the screened porch. We have been birding together and Steve is awesome - counting 50 species in as many minutes. When I exclaim my awe Susan laughs and says, "He just makes them up!" We have great times together and every time I learn an incredible amount from both of them. Now comes my review.

Reminiscent of an outback walkabout this story of an urban academic in search of a personal connection with the Nature he studied hits the mark. The author shares his journey as a son who needs his Mother's help to buy a run down place in the country, as a lonesome stranger among farmers with different values, as a life partner in a loving relationship devoted to land stewardship and parenting, and as an entrepreneur able to make his passions his work. Indeed one of his burning passions almost burned down his neighbor's farm!

Apfelbaum's words flow like the creek he restored, letting us share each season's charm as birds come and go, frogs and toads holler mating frenzies, wild flowers bloom and invasive weeds vex. Mixing love, ethics, struggle and inspiration this book restores us while telling the story of saving the space around us. Even his neighboring farmers begin to see value in a "weedy mess."
I like the book so much I am publishing my first book review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Wasik on August 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
There's so much magic and mirth in this book that I was blindsided by its eloquence and beauty. As a restoration ecologist, Apfelbaum clearly loves what he does and embraces his mission to revive the lands within his stewardship. Having burned prairies many times and watched for majestic cranes overhead, I can tell you what he professes works. It's not only good for the land, it's good for us. We ignore his advice at our peril. This book is clearly in keeping with the spirit of Aldo Leopold and John Muir. Each chapter brought forth the splendor of another new season, the travails of remodeling and the grace of seeing native species return to a devastated landscape. No matter where you live, you will be able to appreciate the message of this timeless book. John Wasik, author, "The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By allanbecker-gardenguru on August 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Urban dwellers, far removed from arable land, are pleased that food is relatively affordable. Many of us are also proud that we grow enough food to feed the world. That this efficient food chain abuses the earth concerns too few people. When we are informed that this process is clearly unfriendly to nature, we cannot imagine why anyone would choose to turn back the clock on successful agricultural history.

The author of this book leads us to reconsider our position on this subject by describing the toll that agro processing exacts from the earth. In doing so, he politely sets the stage for a controversial debate.

So much time and space has been devoted by the media to the deterioration of our environment. We are continuously being reminded about global warming, pollution, the need to find alternate renewable sources of energy and the importance of securing reliable sources of potable water. Yet, very little attention is paid to the importance of restoring land abused by agricultural overuse, mining, forestry and landfills. The author reminds us that we are the original stewards of our planet and that it is our responsibility to pass on this earth to subsequent generations in good stead.

Steven Apfelbaum is an ecologist and educator. His specialty is natural resource conservation which is an ecological restorative process of nurturing wild plants and animal communities back to health. Restoration is, in essence, the act of putting back into the land what has been taken out of it. This book documents his personal experience in restoring overworked farmland.

Reading about his successful land restoration, it becomes clear that there is sheer delight to be found in recreating a natural preserve.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John G on June 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
An excellent and inspirational story of the author's 30 year quest to restore the ecology of his farm. He also includes an intriguing glimpse of a future, where ecological restoration and economic gains go hand-in-hand.
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