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Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World
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"Re-centers and gives voice to a diversity of women naturalists and writers across time." —Cultivating Place
In Writing Wild, Kathryn Aalto celebrates 25 women whose influential writing helps deepen our connection to and understanding of the natural world. These inspiring wordsmiths are scholars, spiritual seekers, conservationists, scientists, novelists, and explorers. They defy easy categorization, yet they all share a bold authenticity that makes their work both distinct and universal. Part travel essay, literary biography, and cultural history, Writing Wild ventures into the landscapes and lives of extraordinary writers and encourages a new generation of women to pick up their pens, head outdoors, and start writing wild.
What do we wish for? To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.
Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert (2001)
Isn’t it queer: there are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before; like the larks in this country, that have been singing the same five notes over for thousands of years.
Willa Cather, O Pioneers! (1913)
I hope you love Birds too. It is economical. It saves going to Heaven.
Emily Dickinson, Letter to Eugenia Hall (1885)
When I was a child, I ran away from home a lot.
Over my shoulder, I slung a knapsack fashioned from a red handkerchief pulled from my costume trunk of gowns, hats, and heels. Before spearing it with an almond tree branch, I filled that pack with provisions: my toothbrush, a box of raisins, my small silk blanket, and bread pilfered from the kitchen when my mother wasn’t looking.
“This is goodbye,” I would lisp-whisper to my parents.
“Okay, Honey,” they’d say, watching five-year-old me flounce out the back door—1940s earrings clipped to my ears, mangy fur stole around my neck—and into the cornfields and peach orchards of our home on Lemon Avenue.
There was never any reason to leave. Ours was a happy home. The culprits for inspiring my wanderlust were books. The whimsical perambulations of the trickster Br’er Rabbit from The Tales of Uncle Remus tickled my imagination. I read and reread the blissful overland and underland adventures of Mole, Toad, Rat, and Badger from The Wind in the Willows and pined for the storybook landscapes of England. The darkness of “Hansel and Gretel” by the Brothers Grimm inspired the trail of breadcrumbs I dropped in the powdery dirt of California’s San Joaquin Valley as I made what, to me, felt like epic odysseys. You never know when you might encounter a cannibalistic witch.
Decades have passed, and the appeal of journeys on foot remains. At university, I read an account by the great naturalist John Muir of walking from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park through the valley where I grew up. It instilled a lifelong interest in narrative nonfiction, nature writing, and the essay. I pieced together nature writing like a puzzle to understand who and what came before and after Muir.
In the Pacific Northwest during our twenties and thirties, my other half pursued graduate studies in sediment while I studied sentiment. He became a geology professor; I taught American literature of nature and place. We renovated a turn-of-the-century farm. Looking back on those years of rewilding a salmon spawning stream, interlacing footpaths through our meadows and woods, and planting sequoias that will outlive our great-great-great grandchildren, I can identify a few key ideas that led to me writing this book.
For one thing, I’d gotten the feeling that nature writing and environmentalism was a club for white men, even in the late twentieth century. Anthologies of thirty years ago reflect this. Voices were missing. Ear to the ground, I have long listened for the footfalls of others.
For another, on our farm, I began to feel like the ballerina of my childhood jewelry box who, upon opening the lid, twirls and spins in one place. America has stunning national and state parks, but trespassing laws confine folks to their fiefdoms within rural and suburban geographies. Walking the circuitous paths of the farm as the sun glinted off the backs of coho salmon in October, I wished I could ramble along the stream from source to sea. I could not. I wished I could walk into town. With logging trucks whizzing past, I couldn’t without putting my life at risk. Though we could travel by car, and did, I felt I was living on an island.
And then, we moved to a real island—England.
Here in Britain, the ramble, the through-hike, and the literary pilgrimage are delicious pastimes protected by “right to roam” laws. My strong desire to stride is quenched. There is an athletic lyricism in any movement—dance, basketball, running, skiing—that seduces my heart, mind, and spirit (I can spend hours in Hyde Park watching people move), and Britain’s ancient footpaths invite us to move in ways humans were designed for. It’s blissful to pass in and out of history and holloways, to picnic and prospect on green hilltops. The pace of walking is ideal for the sensual intake of fragrance, birdsong, and cloud watching. The tempo of the artful amble appeals to the writer in me. Where walking and writing intersect is the personal essay—the beating heart of the nature-writing genre.
So when Outside magazine published an article they called “Essential Books for the Well-Read Explorer,” I noted with some interest that twenty-two of the twenty-five books were by white men. “Hold your horses,” I said, wedging my foot in the door, and wrote a rebuttal. That article—part of a conversation academics have been having for decades about who has access to and writes about nature—buzzed and hummed online, with readers wanting more stories about the lives and literature of women who have written about the natural world, some of whom—sigh—did not get credit, wrote anonymously, or were maligned for being female. This book emerged from that curiosity and clamor.
I should say that, although I have done my best to summon the spirit and language of classic, overlooked, and new nature writing over two centuries, this book is not a definitive anthology. Some of your own favorite writers might not be included, but it is only for lack of space that I could not include everyone. Think of these pages as a glance backward and a look forward, as well as a celebration of women who bring a different dimension to nature writing, rather than a compendium of every woman who ever wrote about the natural world. I love the work of Terry Tempest Williams—especially her shimmering 1991 book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. However, Gretel Ehrlich’s 1985 book, The Solace of Open Spaces, came earlier in the subgenre of Western American writing and was pivotal in opening a gate to that particular field. In Britain, Melissa Harrison is a brilliant novelist of nature writing, and Australian Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Australian memoirist and fiction writer Inga Simpson are well worth exploring. To shine light on as many writers as possible, at the end of many essays are side paths, which invite further exploration.
As a personal essayist, I weave my own voice in and out of the narrative, but I want you to hear the voices of these women. They are the stars. As we journey together, I am merely pointing up to their constellations—highlighting what they have written, their historical significance, and, where relevant, the barriers, biases, and bullying they overcame to write.
I also liberally use the term “nature writing” to include many categories: natural history, environmental philosophy, country life, scientific writing, garden arts, memoirs, and meditations. All these writers are concerned with an essential wildness. Some write about being in the wild. Some mourn the vanishing wild—from ecosystems to native peoples. Some write about inhabiting the idea of wildness—which sometimes can mean an uncultivated part of themselves. As a wordsmith who often has a foot in academia, I am conscientious about the nuanced differences between “nature,” “wild,” “place,” and “landscape”—but here in these pages, I am relaxed about it.
Gender, race, and physical abilities are also important prisms through which to understand how people access and experience the natural world. If you are white, for example, a poplar tree in a park may look innocuous—an innocent object of beauty. Imagine though that you are unable to reach it over a rocky trail. If you are differently abled and cannot access its shade or touch its leaves, how might your relationship to the tree change? If you are black, that same tree may have a more sinister feel, perhaps a symbol of lynching’s legacy. Think of jazz star Billie Holiday’s haunting rendition of the song “Strange Fruit.” Within a musical landscape of minor chords, Holiday transports us to the “gallant” South and a lynching scene where bodies swing like fruit from trees—leaves and roots soaked in blood. It’s a vivid example of how perspective colors experience. If we don’t give diverse narratives, first, the opportunity to exist, and second, recognition and legitimacy, it can appear that able-bodied white guys have, in the words of comedian Hannah Gadsby, “a monopoly on the human experience.”
While it’s time to turn up the volume on narratives by women, it’s never a time to knock what anyone—man or woman—has done well. In no way do I dismiss the important contributions of men in the genre. I can no more easily dislodge my hero Henry David Thoreau from my thinking than I can heartthrob Andy Gibb from my preteen memories. Indeed, hanging in my office is a reproduction of Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.” Two hundred years ago, this, in the words of poet Kathleen Jamie, “lone enraptured male”—hair tousled, topcoat billowing in the wind atop a mountain as he gazes over a valley of fog—embodied the Romantic view of nature and the rapture of sublime experiences. Though iconic, it is but one of infinite experiences in nature. On this warming flipside of the Industrial Revolution, the tenor and urgency of nature writing has shifted beyond our individual emotions. Poles are melting, sea levels rising, coral reefs dying. Biodiversity is plummeting, and weather systems grow ever more erratic. Those who write about the natural world can harness science and reason with the personal and poetic to heighten awareness, influence policy, and stir the soul. Today’s ecopoetics, dystopian fiction, cli-fi, and solar punk invite us to consider catastrophic as well as hopeful futures for life in this Anthropocene. Some say this is “new nature writing,” but it is not new. Susan Fenimore Cooper’s 1850 Rural Hours and Elizabeth Rush’s 2018 Rising are part of the same urgent tradition.
Much of this book was researched and penned outside—mountain climbing, mudlarking, canoeing, beachcombing, gardening, hiking, and birdwatching. I retraced the footsteps of those who have passed on, some of whom wrote anonymously or were chastised for daring to venture off without male chaperones. I walked and talked with living authors. I read original nineteenth-century journals, letters, essays, and books. I held tangible personal objects. I searched the faces in old photographs. I listened to historians, archivists, and experts. I attended live author readings and listened to recordings. I passed through two hundred years of women’s history through nature writing.
The women I met are authentic and remarkable. Ramblers, scholars, and spiritual seekers. Conservationists, scientists, explorers. Historians, poets, and novelists. Heroines, mavericks, and swashbuckling trailblazers. They defy broad categorization beyond their grit to sidestep any pesky No Trespassing signs in their way.
May they inspire you to do the same. Be bold. Dive deep. Map your own way with new coordinates. Whether you take a suitcase, backpack, or handkerchief knapsack, remember a notebook—and don’t forget a pencil.
I left my sole companion-friend
To wander out alone.
Lured by a little winding path,
I quitted soon the public road,
A smooth and tempting path it was,
By sheep and shepherds trod.
“Grasmere – A Fragment”
Our journey begins in Wasdale, one of the most remote valleys in England’s Lake District. In the pink predawn light of midsummer, I set out on a narrow lane lined in drystone walls overflowing in fragrant wild honeysuckle and mustard lichen. I pass St. Olaf’s, possibly England’s smallest church, a stone structure set amid a grove of yews in ancient Viking fields.
I lift the latch at a path marked Scafell Pike, step through the gate, and hear the metallic clink break the morning silence. I cross a pasture toward a wooden bridge and onto a narrow ascending gravel trail. The way is up, but Scafell Pike—the peak I’m aiming for and England’s tallest—is hidden for the moment by Goat Crag. I walk through Brackenclose then rise along the rocky cascades of Lingmell Gill and higher, through alpine meadows of purple saxifrage and carpets of moss along Brown Tongue. Above me is Black Crag, a peak shorter than my destination, and I stop here to appreciate the pleasures of total silence. When I begin hiking again, I can hear my breath, and my feet crunching in the gravel. Somewhere in the clear air above me, a ring ouzel calls, pauses, then sings a warbled song that sounds like marbles in hand. An hour passes, 1,500 feet climbed. Higher up at Lingmell Col, the saddle between Broad Crag and Scafell Pike, Herdwick sheep rest in boulder shadows, where they leave tufts of black and white wool in the parsley fern. Above me, a sharp ping, ping, ping of a buzzard against the fingernail moon. The sun is rising, and soon it will be hot. My legs are strong and I travel light. I don’t mean to overtake two sets of highly kitted men—but I do. And I wink at them.
I reach a large debris field of scree and shattered rock and look for cairns to lead me in the final steep climb. I leap across rocks and boulders. There are some final steps onto a platform, and I’m finally standing at the 3,209-foot summit. For a little while, before less-early risers make their way up, I am alone on one of the world’s most rapturous stages. I take a deep breath, surrounded by a study in blues. Dark blue lakes. Indigo mountain shadows. Robin-egg sky. It’s seven in the morning, and the sun is spreading golden light into these blue hues. I see Helvellyn and Skiddaw and can just make out the Mourne Mountains across the Irish Sea and Snowdonia in Wales to the south. Somewhere in the hills below me is Grasmere, the home of England’s most famous poet.
Here on top of Scafell Pike, it’s easy to understand why few landscapes are more steeped in literary history than this. It’s a place celebrated over two hundred years ago by the enraptured band of brothers known as the Lake Poets—Robert Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Wordsworth—who all walked and wrote among these hills and vales. In their landmark 1798 Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth and Coleridge sought to overturn the pompous epic poetry that came before them. They were their generation’s Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys, and this was poetry’s punk moment. Old subjects were thrown out—sensations were celebrated. In ordinary language and in folk-ballad form, these poets celebrated their own memories, their own emotions, and their own experiences in nature. Their work represents the start of what is known as English Romanticism, the artistic celebration of the individual, nature, and the past that extended from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. It was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution and the new faith in reason, science, and mathematics embodied by the Enlightenment. Romantics sought a return to individual experiences like awe, horror, and fear, as a way to cultivate mystery and wonder in an increasingly mechanistic society. In simple terms, you could say that a Romantic preferred to wake to a cockerel than to a clock.
Squinting in the direction of Grasmere, I think of Glencoyne Bay near Ullswater, where Wordsworth and his younger sister Dorothy often walked together. I haven’t climbed all this way to celebrate him—170 years after his death, he still has his fame, and rightly so. Instead, I’m thinking of Dorothy.
She was born in 1771 in Cockermouth, a market town on the western edge of the Lake District, the middle child and only girl of the five Wordsworth children. Tall and slender, radiating intelligence and kindness, Dorothy’s natural disposition and sensibilities mirrored the wild and emotive traits the Romantics esteemed. As a little girl, she wept at first sight of the sea—as an adult, contrasts of color and texture in fields also moved her deeply. Their mother and father died when the Wordsworth children were young, and the four brothers bounced between relatives, while Dorothy was sent to Yorkshire to live with her mother’s cousin. There was “life before,” with her family. And there was “life after,” a time that cut into her well-being and caused a deep sense of abandonment and rejection. Though only 100 miles separated her from them, Dorothy did not see her brothers for ten years. When at last she did, she and William discovered they shared an especially close poetic companionability. They began to walk great distances together, and she became his sensitive sounding board, inspiration, and eventual amanuensis.
One immortal walk took place in the green hills near Ullswater on 15 April 1802. As they strolled around Glencoyne Bay, they encountered a scene of wild English daffodils flouncing with effervescence in the wind along the water. After stopping to marvel at it in the manner of true Romantics, they continued to Dove Cottage, their rose-covered home surrounded with wild strawberries, primroses, dandelions, and foxgloves, all collected by Dorothy on walks in nearby woods. That evening, Dorothy recorded the scene in her journal:
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up—But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing.
Known today as The Grasmere Journal, this collection is one of four small diaries that captured Dorothy’s own lyrical voice and acute observations of the natural world from 1800 to 1803. And yet, two years later, William Wordsworth wrote “Daffodils,” arguably one of the most famous poems in the English language:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
In twenty-four breezy lines, the future poet laureate praises the purity and beauty of nature, reflecting the gospel of Romanticism that “all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” Beloved around the world, “Daffodils” captures the essence of the Romantic era—but it doesn’t entirely belong to him. How this came to be reveals much about what has changed from the Wordsworths’ time to now.
William’s Cambridge University education was out of the question for Dorothy as a woman, but her talent and urge to create would not be stifled. She penned poetry, kept journals, and wrote thousands of letters, including 700 we can still read today, which are marked by an acute and cultivated power of observation equal to the many formally educated men who visited Dove Cottage. She wrote so well that both her brother and Coleridge are known to have lifted phrases from her journals, but Dorothy was more than the wind beneath their wings, and her own work deserves to be celebrated as distinct from her famous brother and his peers.
Dorothy’s poetic sensibilities flow throughout her unpretentious journals—both the experimental, sublunary Alfoxden Journal and the more revealing Grasmere Journal. Neither were intended for publication. Rather, she wrote pieces to share with family and friends about walks and travel to Scotland, the Alps, the Isle of Man, and more. Ernest de Selincourt, one of her earliest posthumous editors and biographers, remarked that Dorothy was “probably the most remarkable and the most distinguished of English prose writers who never wrote a line for the general public.” But more people have read her uncredited work than they know. In a revision of his book A Guide through the District of the Lakes, William Wordsworth includes a letter Dorothy wrote to a friend about her 1818 ascent of Scafell Pike, now considered one of the most notable ascents of a mountain by a woman during the Romantic era. However, he didn’t attribute the letter to Dorothy, giving the appearance that it was his own climb and he wrote the piece.
Call it what you will—plagiarism, borrowing, lifting—what was Mr. Wordsworth thinking? But we must give some thought to circumstance. Casting a glance back to that time, my guess is that Dorothy simply did not mind—maybe she considered the experiences she wrote about to be mutual. She never sought out notoriety or pursued publication, and brother and sister had a long, respectful, and loving sibling relationship. But, as many Romantic scholars have done, we can mind for her now and make sure she gets credit where it is due. Her essay enticed me to climb Scafell myself, to see what she saw, and I believe Harriet Martineau, Victorian feminist icon and Britain’s first sociologist, would have wanted to know that the ascent, which she republished in her famous 1855 A Complete Guide to the English Lakes—the book that eclipsed Wordsworth’s as the seminal Lake District walking book—belonged not to William, but Dorothy.
From the village of Rosthwaite, Dorothy set out with her friend, painter and poet Mary Barker, along with Barker’s maid, a hired porter, and a Borrowdale shepherd to act as guide, to ascend the mountain. In her signature picturesque and phenomenological style, she observed and recorded the hike as it unfolded in the moment:
Cushions or tufts of moss, parched and brown, appear between the blocks and stones that lie in heaps on all sides to a great distance, like skeletons or bones of the earth not needed at the creation, and there left to be covered with never-dying lichens, which the clouds and dews nourish and adorn with colors of vivid and exquisite beauty.
On reaching the summit, she burst with delight, “But how shall I speak of the deliciousness of the . . . prospect! At this time, that was most favored by sunshine and shade. The green Vale of Esk—deep and green, with its glittering serpent stream, lay below us. . . . We were far above the reach of the cataracts of Scaw Fell; and not an insect there was to hum in the air.” In the delicious silence, her group begins a conversation about what they see in the distance. Dorothy’s effervescent wonder is contagious.
While we were gazing around, “Look,” I exclaimed, “at yon ship upon the glittering sea!” “Is it a ship?” replied our shepherd- guide. “It can be nothing else,” interposed my companion; “I cannot be mistaken, I am so accustomed to the appearance of ships at sea.” The guide dropped the argument; but, before a minute was gone, he quietly said, “Now look at your ship; it is changed into a horse.” So indeed it was; – a horse with a gallant neck and head. We laughed heartily; and I hope, when again inclined to be positive, I may remember the ship and the horse upon the glittering sea; and the calm confidence, yet submissiveness, of our wise Man of the Mountains, who certainly had more knowledge of clouds than we, whatever might be our knowledge of ships.
After my own summit of Scafell, I stay a few days at an inn near Wasdale then travel on to Dove Cottage. In one of the front rooms, I notice the small 1806 silhouette of Dorothy. Like that illusory ship, which turned out to be something else entirely, this portrait feels indistinct, an ironic representation for a woman who was, in fact, at her critical and poetic peak and in her strongest body. Hoping to see beyond the illusion, I read her original letters, sitting in the sunshine, in the garden she tended.
I think how Dorothy was an outlier among women for climbing the tallest mountain in England, but she was not alone. Women explored in the company of mothers, aunts, and sisters, as well as husbands, fathers, uncles, and brothers. Some climbed with a guide because they felt threatened, were subject to verbal abuse, and could experience “reputational anxiety” about walking alone and what that conveyed to others. Dorothy herself received a steady stream of letters from a disapproving aunt and grandmother reprimanding her for her daring habit of walking in the moonlight and at twilight. Women of this era were often trapped by marriage and society into states of dependency, but Dorothy seemed to escape this fate, at least until the end of her long life.
In my visit to Rydal Mount, the house where Dorothy lived with William and his wife and children, I am finally able to shake off the gauzy veil of passing time and sort of lock eyes with this remarkable woman. An oil painting shows Dorothy in her early sixties, seated in a vibrant orange chair with a white terrier at her feet, a scenic lake and mountain just over her shoulder. Her gray-blue eyes are lively. Like many women who spent decades walking, Dorothy lived long, to age eighty-three, and though she was not without health problems, her eyes retain their twinkle. On her lap is a paper notebook, to her side a collection of inkwells and perhaps a canister of opium. She looks vibrant and alive. This woman treaded and recorded our literary landscapes before they were iconic, and she helped make them so. Far more than “the poet’s sister,” she is a woman worth her own words: Dorothy Wordsworth, “mountaineer, diarist, poet.”
"What a joy to travel these paths alongside Kathryn Aalto and such fierce, trailblazing, and perceptive women." —Sarah L. Kaufman, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post critic and author of The Art of Grace
“An impassioned and illuminating anthology that serves as an act of recovery and discovery, a personal celebration, and a timely reminder of the wealth and sheer power of women’s voices.” —Rob Cowen, author of Common Ground
“Kathryn Aalto brilliantly braids engaging personal narrative with accessible literary biography, to take readers on an inspiring pilgrimage.” —Michael P. Branch, author of Rants from the Hill and How to Cuss in Western
“An amazing, rich resource that rises above visions of conquest and domination to reveal the possibility of meeting eye-to-eye with wildness, and of being broken open and changed.” —Foreword
“This book is a wonderful jumping-off point for anyone who loves the outdoors and wants to know more about the many talented female writers who have made it their work’s focus.” —BookPage
“A fantastic resource for readers looking to grow their TBR piles.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Exciting, inspiring, intimidating, and bold.” —San Francisco Book Review
“A luminous collection of mini-biographies of female nature writers past and present. Beautifully illustrated by Gisela Goppel, Aalto's book champions historical figures like Rachel Carson and Vita Sackville-West, and contemporary writers like Rebecca Solnit and Robin Wall Kimmerer. She makes a point of including Indigenous and Black female authors, ending each chapter with a list of (even) further reading to explore.” —Shelf Awareness
“A heartening book, granting attention to women who dared to write and ramble wild.” —BBC Countryfile
"This fine and thoughtful book puts these remarkable women writers right smack bang in to focus where they belong—as key shapers of how we see the natural world.” —James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life
“Writing Wild is an illuminating examination of voices often pushed to the side, challenging the canon of nature writing as it stands. It’s a book I’ll keep on the shelf—I’m certain I’ll return to it often.” —Buzzfeed Books
“Writing Wild re-centers and gives voice to a diversity of women naturalists and writers across time. It charts often un-heard women’s voices in naturalist writing–from long-dead women such as Dorothy Wordsworth and Gene Stratton Porter to more contemporary voices such as Gretel Ehrlich, Leslie Marmon Silko, Lauret Savoy, and Camille Dungy.” —Cultivating Place
“Writing Wild celebrates 25 women who opened the door to the outside and led readers through it.” —The Jefferson Exchange
“A succinct introduction to women nature writers, this elegant compilation should have a broad reach and inspire readers to seek out more about the authors featured… Aalto writes in an easy, friendly style that makes readers feel as if they are walking the paths of these women with her.” —Library Journal
“A great bibliographic source of the works by women that have written about nature.” —The New Jersey Mycological Association
“Writing Wild celebrates women who did not let gender inhibit them. With Nature being an intrinsic part in their lives, this is a fascinating read.” —Friday Magazine
“A fresh perspective on connecting with and understanding the natural world. So many (s)heroes.” —The Seattle Times
- On Sale
- Jun 23, 2020
- Page Count
- 288 pages
- Timber Press