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When science writer Hannah Holmes decided to spend a year studying the inhabitants of her 0.2-acre patch of ground in suburban Portland, Maine, she went about the task with an ecologist's enthusiasm and a scientist's compulsive eye for detail. The result is an entertaining and effortlessly compelling examination of nature's stubborn (and successful) struggle to exist in the face of daunting manmade challenges. Holmes's lawn, unfertilized and rarely mowed, turns out to be a surprisingly diverse ecosystem of bird, mammal, and insect life--a self-perpetuating, constantly evolving community of chipmunks, ladybugs, spiders, slugs, and crows. These creatures, and the complex relationships between them, are the raw material for Holmes's incisive reflections on natural history, urban ecology, and the ignominious story of the over-irrigated, pesticide-laced American lawn--rolling out, Holmes notes, at a rate of one million acres per year. What drives Holmes is not just concern for the natural environment but a ravenous curiosity about every aspect of the world around her, from the sex lives of dragonflies and squirrels, to the murderous tendencies of the English sparrows that have colonized her land, to the survival strategies of the mosquitoes, sow bugs, and slugs that inhabit her yard by the hundreds. Holmes is an environmentalist to the core, but she never sermonizes. With Suburban Safari, an intimate, wry, and often challenging look at a world most of us never bother to notice, she ably demonstrates humanity's responsibility to a natural world that exists all around us--even in our own backyards. --Erica C. Barnett --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
When science and travel writer Holmes (The Secret Life of Dust) turned her attention to her suburban backyard, she discovered a community of wildlife desperately trying to survive in a sprawling world of "Wal-Marts and White-Crowned Sparrow Estates." Holmes manages to find signs of hope and humor amid the spread of civilization, and she reports animal activities in her yard with the fervor of Wild Kingdom's Marlin Perkins and the laconic glee of Garrison Keillor. "I'm a bit embarrassed to report that Cheeky has become the sun around which my world revolves," she confesses about her resident chipmunk. That small mammal is just one of the many creatures to whom Holmes gives names and personalities, but she keeps her naturalist credibility intact by inviting scientists and other experts to join her in her lawn chair vigil. With their help, she includes plenty of facts about the habits of common crows, insects, squirrels and even trees. Science and humor serve as well-managed launching points for environmental lessons. By the end of her year, Holmes has gently taught us that the American lawn is a pesticide-laden patchwork that's increasing by a million acres every year, that heating a house can produce five tons of pollutants annually and that stewardship of our own backyards is our responsibility.
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.
Ah, my kind of nature nut, or so we're called, those loving the planet and its animals, birds and other live stuff. Well, maybe not mosquitoes. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kenneth Myron Bonnell
Learned about freedom lawns and other facts about the critters here in NH! Holmes combines scientific studies with her own observations in a seamless way that was enjoyable to... Read morePublished on August 20, 2013 by Gary W. Gagne
This is a book to make anybody who lives in a house with a yard (or near a park) stop yearning for distant wilderness, and realize that NATURE lives where you do. Read morePublished on June 6, 2013 by Frances O. Stallings
If you, as I am, happen to be a nature geek, this book will wow you. I loved it and learned from it- and laughed, as well. Hannah Holmes is an intelligent and endearing writer. Read morePublished on May 27, 2013 by suec.
We often think of wilderness as somewhere "out there," in a national park somewhere. This book brings wilderness back home. Read morePublished on May 11, 2012 by A fellow with a keyboard
Nature writers love the concept of writing about a specific area for a year. From Krutch to Abbey to Jack Turner--this is a time honored nature book tradition. Read morePublished on April 12, 2012 by Allan Stellar
Anyone who's lived for any period of time in any kind of suburban neighborhood, or really any kind of community that has trees and grass, will find this a fascinating and highly... Read morePublished on February 21, 2012 by Deygan Brendan
The edges of the pages are unevenly cut so it's a little hard to turn them. I don't mind, but would have liked to know this before choosing to buy this item. Book is like new.Published on April 19, 2010 by Karen H. Dawes
When people think about wildlife and nature, they are usually thinking about areas that are remote from people and cities. Read morePublished on September 4, 2009 by Andrew W. Johns