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.

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