Chelsea Green Publishing

Sippewissett

Pages:264 pages
Book Art:Black and white illustrations and maps
Size: 5.625 x 8.625 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781933392141
Pub. Date September 15, 2006

Sippewissett

Or, Life on a Salt Marsh

By Tim Traver
Illustrated by Bobbi Angell

Availability: In Stock

Hardcover

Available Date:
September 15, 2006

$22.50 $2.25

Tim Traver's Sippewissett is heir to a rich history of nature writing. Akin to classics like Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, the book forms an eloquent bridge between ecology and memory, science and art. Traver alternates between remembrances of the Cape Cod salt marsh where he spent his boyhood summers and the history of Sippewissett, a place that has been studied by many of America's great biologists, from Louis Agassiz to Rachel Carson.

There is poetry in his retelling of the past, a childhood of mud and tides and water; there is great love in the peace and satisfaction he finds later in life fishing and clamming and watching his own children discover the secrets of the marsh. Traver manages to weave these personal details into mesmerizing historical passages and meditations on the ecology of place that read like whodunits; one discovery leads to another, from the most beautiful dance of life to more somber considerations, such as the way the marsh can tell us so much about our environmental crises.
Sippewissett is an intimate exploration of place by a man of science and strong family bonds. Here is one of ecology's most studied places through the eyes of someone determined to make sense of its beauty and complexity--at once private and public--filled with poetry yet grounded in science, a place disappearing in the face of development and global climate change.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"In this wonderful blend of natural history and memoir, Traver details both the ecology and the history of Sippewissett, describing the people and creatures that he encounters, and chronicles the daily turning of the tides. Educational, touching, and highly relevant in today's changing ecological world, this marvelous book is highly recommended."--Library Journal, Starred Review

"Tim Traver has written not just about a salt marsh, but also about the experience of living near one. He reflects upon what others--scientists, poets, philosophers, relatives, local residents and even occasional visitors--tell him about Sippewissett marsh. And, while the book is focused on his marsh, it is really about a man's relation to nature on a large scale."--John Teal, co-author of Life and Death of the Salt Marsh

"This lovely book made me miss a bus. The sounds of the motor and the opening doors were lost in the ebb and flow of saltwater, migratory fish, and family, and in Traver's combination of humor and natural history with a deep meditation on the ecology of home."--John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home

"Sippewissett is simply a beautiful piece of nature writing, an extended love letter for a particular place, a particular Cape Cod salt marsh."--Gary Lawless, Gulf of Maine Books

"Rarely can so much be so happily learned. Tim Traver takes us deep into the microcosm of Sippewissett, but more so, explores with us the idea of home. Traver leaps into his salt creek home and where it takes him is never dull."--Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Pinhook: Finding Wholeness in a Fragmented Land

"Tim Traver's Sippewissett is a brilliant accomplishment replete with insight, wisdom, understanding, and passion. The author marvelously combines natural history, science, culture, conservation, and enduring qualities of the human spirit. The reader is continually moved by Traver's eloquent blending of personal narrative and rational reflection; we find ourselves traveling with the author through his coming of age cum personal and professional odyssey. This is a book that is likely to endure, enrich, and inform for many years to come."--Stephen Kellert, Tweedy Ordway Professor of Social Ecology, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

"Sippewissett is a salt marsh with history, and Tim Traver is an ideal guide who steers his readers through layers of birth natural and human, personal and expansive. The science of home is a noble pursuit, and Cape Cod has spawned some of our finest literary naturalists. With Sippewissett Traver joins the legacy of gifted seaside storytellers John Hay, Henry Beston, Henry David Thoreau, and Robert Finch."--Ted Levin, author of Liquid Land: A Journey Through the Florida Everglades, winner of the 2004 Burroughs Medal

"Tim Traver's Sippewissett speaks to us about matters of extreme urgency and does so in a voice we want to hear. It's a powerfully smart and likable book."--David Huddle, author of The Story of a Million Years

"The road home leads through dirt, mud, saltwater and sand in this wonderful, storytelling book about a man and a salt marsh. It is lovely to read a book in which deep reflection on self, science and community are woven with direct, lived experience. Traver conjures with portraits of scientists and naturalists like Louis Agassiz and George Perkins Marsh, for whom science pointed to truths deeper than calculation can reveal. And he himself gently enacts their wishes, drawing truth from a girl who sees a pipefish or from a family expedition in a boat that floated in on the tide."--William Bryant Logan, author of Oak: The Frame of Civilization and Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth

Library Journal, Starred Review-
Traver, a third-generation Cape Cod salt marsh inhabitant, has the distinctive and wonderful perspective that comes from loving--and sometimes leaving--a place of true natural wonder. Spending near-idyllic boyhood summers in Sippewissett, MA, Traver grew up exploring the natural world around him. Revisiting those childhood memories, now tempered by marriage and fatherhood, he looks at many vital and potentially contentious issues from both sides of the proverbial coin--that of the scientist/environmentalist and the local--and speaks with understanding and empathy for both. In this wonderful blend of natural history and memoir, Traver details both the ecology and the history of Sippewissett, describing the people and creatures that he encounters, and chronicles the daily turning of the tides. Educational, touching, and highly relevant in today's changing ecological world, this marvelous book is highly recommended for public and academic libraries.

Susan E. Brazer, Salisbury Univ. Lib., MD,

Science-
Biologists (including Louis Agassiz and Rachel Carson) have long been drawn to the patch of Cape Cod marsh where Traver spent his boyhood summers and to which he still returns. His reflections on the fauna, flora, habitats, and human culture eloquently weave together ecology, history, and memory. He offers enticing discussions of tidal flows, spawning runs, eelgrass beds, clam hunts, and even the microbial communities in the muds. And his treatment of sometimes contentious conservation issues demonstrates his recognition of the challenges facing those who wish to sustain their sense of home.

AWARDS

  • Winner - Nautilus Book Award, Silver Winner (Ecology/Environment/Sustainability)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Traver

Tim Traver holds a master's degree in environmental science from Yale University. He is a freelance travel and science writer and has had a column in the Providence Journal and Falmouth Enterprise. He works on issues of land use, wildlife management, open space protection, and environmental education and is past executive director of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and the Upper Valley Land Trust and past director of the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Traver lives in Taftsville, Vermont, with his wife and three children.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Seed Underground

The Seed Underground

By Janisse Ray

There is no despair in a seed. There's only life, waiting for the right conditions-sun and water, warmth and soil-to be set free. Everyday, millions upon millions of seeds lift their two green wings.

At no time in our history have Americans been more obsessed with food. Options- including those for local, sustainable, and organic food-seem limitless. And yet, our food supply is profoundly at risk. Farmers and gardeners a century ago had five times the possibilities of what to plant than farmers and gardeners do today; we are losing untold numbers of plant varieties to genetically modified industrial monocultures. In her latest work of literary nonfiction, award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray argues that if we are to secure the future of food, we first must understand where it all begins: the seed.

The Seed Underground is a journey to the frontier of seed-saving. It is driven by stories, both the author's own and those from people who are waging a lush and quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America to preserve our traditional cornucopia of food by simply growing old varieties and eating them. The Seed Underground pays tribute to time-honored and threatened varieties, deconstructs the politics and genetics of seeds, and reveals the astonishing characters who grow, study, and save them.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

The Seed Underground

Janisse Ray

Paperback $17.95

Poisoned for Profit

Poisoned for Profit

By Philip Shabecoff and Alice Shabecoff

In a landmark investigation that's been compared to Silent Spring, two veteran journalists definitively show how, why, and where industrial toxins are causing rates of birth defects, asthma, cancer, and other serious illnesses to soar in children. Philip and Alice Shabecoff reveal that the children of baby boomers-the first to be raised in a truly toxified world-are the first generation to be sicker and have shorter life expectancies than their parents. The culprits, they say, are the companies that profit from producing, using, and selling toxics.

In piercing case histories, the authors bring readers to places like Dickson, Tennessee, where babies were born with cleft lips and palates after landfill chemicals seeped into the water, and Port Neches, Texas, where so many graduates of a high school near synthetic rubber and chemical plants contracted cancer that the school was nicknamed "Leukemia High."

And they ask a razor-sharp question: Just why are we letting corporations commit these crimes against our children, sabotage investigations and regulations, hire scientists to skew data on toxic impacts, and fend off government controls with powerful lobbying groups?

It's time, they say, for families and the health and environmental communities to fight back, and their painstakingly researched book shows how people are taking action across the country-from pressuring politicians and investigating sickness clusters in their regions to ridding their own homes of countless toxic products like crib mattresses infused with dangerous flame retardants or teething rings steeped in harmful chemicals.

Powerful, unflinching, and eminently readable, Poisoned for Profit is a wake-up call that is bound to inspire talk and force change.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Poisoned for Profit

Philip Shabecoff, Alice Shabecoff

Paperback $17.95

Angels by the River

Angels by the River

By James Gustave Speth

Angels by the River follows James Gustave Speth’s unlikely path—from a Southern boyhood to his career as an influential mainstream environmentalist to his current system-changing activism.

In this compelling memoir, Speth explores the issues, and realities, that have shaped the nation since the 1950s, and that turned an “ultimate insider” into someone willing to be arrested in front of the White House.

Born and raised in a town where both the best and worst of the South shone through—a town that eventually became the scene of South Carolina’s horrific Orangeburg Massacre—Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South’s agrarian roots influenced his academic career at Yale and later work in the heyday of the environmental movement, when he helped launch two landmark and influential environmental groups—the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute—advise the White House on climate and other emerging issues, and lead the UN’s development efforts around the globe.

Speth fought to create and uphold the nation’s toughest environmental laws, but now believes a new environmentalism is needed to confront today’s challenges. The advancing climate crisis cannot be addressed, he warns, as long as we remain fixated on endless growth and consumption, corporate profits, increasing the incomes of the well-to-do, neglecting those just getting by, and helping abroad only modestly.

An American tale, in all its complexity, Speth’s memoir is an inspiration—especially for readers contemplating how to make a difference in an increasingly complex world.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

Read More

Angels by the River

James Gustave Speth

Hardcover $25.00

Out on a Limb

Out on a Limb

By Benjamin Kilham

In Out on a Limb, Ben Kilham invites us into the world he has come to know best: the world of black bears. 

For decades, Kilham has studied wild black bears in a vast tract of Northern New Hampshire woodlands. At times, he has also taken in orphaned infants—feeding them, walking them through the forest for months to help them decipher their natural world, and eventually reintroducing them back into the wild. Once free, the orphaned bears still regard him as their mother. And one of these bears, now a 17-year-old female, has given him extraordinary access to her daily life, opening a rare window into how she and the wild bears she lives among carry out their daily lives, raise their young, and communicate.

Witnessing this world has led to some remarkable discoveries.  For years, scientists have considered black bears to be mostly solitary.  Kilham's observations, though, reveal the extraordinary interactions wild bears have with each other. They form friendships and alliances; abide by a code of conduct that keeps their world orderly; and when their own food supplies are ample, they even help out other bears in need.  

Could these cooperative behaviors, he asks, mimic behavior that existed in the animal that became human?  In watching bears, do we see our earliest forms of communications unfold? 

Kilham's dyslexia once barred him from getting an advanced academic degree, securing funding for his research, and publishing his observations in the scientific literature. After being shunned by the traditional scientific community, though, Kilham’s unique findings now interest bear researchers worldwide. His techniques even aid scientists working with pandas in China and bears in Russia.

Moreover, the observation skills that fueled Kilham’s exceptional work turned out to be born of his dyslexia. His ability to think in pictures and decipher systems makes him a unique interpreter of the bear's world.

Out on a Limb delivers Kilham’s fascinating glimpse at the inner world of bears, and also makes a passionate case for science, and education in general, to open its doors to different ways of learning and researching—doors that could lead to far broader realms of discovery.

Kilham and his work have been featured in five internationally televised documentaries. In addition to being on over forty nationally broadcast radio shows including National Public Radio, he has appeared on The Today ShowGood Morning AmericaABC Nightly NewsThe David Letterman Show, and more.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Out on a Limb

Benjamin Kilham, Temple Grandin

Hardcover $24.95