Earth-Matters

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Earth Matters

by Michael Dover

Edited by Michael Dover, Caroline Hanna and Rebecca Reid

In March 2009, the Hitchcock Center launched a biweekly column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette called “Earth Matters: Notes on the Nature of the Valley.” From the outset, we decided that a diversity of voices was needed to provide a full picture of the diversity of topics that our subject demanded. Hitchcock Center staff, board members, program presenters and friends have stepped forward to create a series that Larry Parnass, editor of the Gazette, describes as “topical, well-researched, close to home, meaningful, enlightening.”

This book is a collection of the first three and a half years of the column. In it, 34 authors have contributed more than 90 columns about local flora and fauna, waterfalls, geology and prehistory, agriculture, even great places for a nap. They take readers on scientific explorations through an author’s yard and casual walks along woodland paths. Along the way, readers also learn about cougars in Patagonia and world-wide views on global warming, smart growth and home-grown energy production, ecovillages and the Transition movement. With this book, says editor Parnass, “local environmental education takes a bold step forward.”

Illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs by Hitchcock Center photographer Rebecca Reid and others, along with drawings by contributing author and illustrator Elizabeth Farnsworth, the book divides the essays among eight subject areas:

Teaching and learning about the environment
The world is green: Plants around us
Bugs, beetles and other small beasties
Four-leggers great and small
Birds and more birds: The endless fascination of the avian world
As You Sow: Local food and agriculture
Sustainability, Life choices and other big ideas
Being here: In and around the Valley