Reading Recommendations: A List of Wisconsin Nature Writing

I hope you enjoy these books, and that they inspire you to appreciate nature in Wisconsin. By inspiring you to get out there to enjoy it, and by helping you look at the world in new ways! These are my picks for places to get started with Wisconsin nature writers.

(This is a subjective list based on what I have read – feel free to suggest other texts to me, particularly if they are new texts which I have not yet added! I hope to further develop this page later.)

THE CLASSIC TEXT

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (Perhaps the best and most important book of nature writing in the 20th century. And much of it is about Wisconsin!)

OTHER PERSONAL FAVORITES

A Place to Which We Belong: Wisconsin Writers on Wisconsin Landscapes edited by Dennis Boyer, Justin Isherwood (An edited collection, so this is a great place to get introduced to the diversity of places in Wisconsin, and the diversity of styles among different writers.)

Eddee Daniel, Urban Wilderness: Exploring a Metropolitan Watershed (2006) (As a long-time Milwaukee area resident, I appreciate his ability to – through text and his photographs – demonstrate the possibilities for experiencing nature in urban areas.)

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

McManus, Melanie Radzicki Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice-Age Trail (2017, Wisconsin Historical Society Press)

OTHER WRITINGS FROM THE 2010S

Austin, Joel Discovering the Penokees (2013, Sweetwater Visions Press)

Milton Bates, Bark River Chronicles: Stories from a Wisconsin Watershed (2012)

Court, Franklin E., Pioneers of Ecological Restoration: The People and Legacy of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum (2012)

Eddee Daniel, Milwaukee County Grounds: Island of Hope (2014) (forward by Nancy Aten)

Steven Dewald, Under A Poacher’s Moon: Stories Of A Wisconsin Game Warden (2012) Read my review

Travis Dewitz, Blaze Orange: Whitetail deer hunting in Wisconsin

James Feldman, A Storied Wilderness: Rewilding the Apostle Islands (2011) history of management of islands, with thoughtful reflections on what the history means for how humans relate to nature.

Amy Lou Jenkins, Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting (2010)

Jill Sisson Quinn, Deranged: Finding a Sense of Place in the Landscape and in the Lifespan (2010)

Patty Loew, Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin (2014)

Miyazaki, Kevin Perimeter: A Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan (2014)

The Vanishing Present: Wisconsin’s Changing Lands, Waters, and Wildlife by Donald M. Waller and Thomas P. Rooney (2010)

TWO EXCELLENT BIOGRAPHIES OF KEY WISCONSIN WRITERS

Curt Meine, Aldo Leopold

Donald Worster, John Muir

HISTORY OF NATURE AND NATURE WRITING IN WISCONSIN

Martha Bergland and Paul G. Hayes, Studying Wisconsin: The life of Increase Lapham (Biography of ground-breaking 19th century observer and recorder of Wisconsin nature and history.)

Bill Berry, Banning DDT: How Citizen Activists in Wisconsin led the way

J. Baird Callicott, editor, Companion to A Sand County Almanac: Interpretive and Critical Essays

Bill Christofferssen, The Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day Founder Senator Gaylord Nelson

Susan Flader Thinking like a mountain: Aldo Leopold and the Evolution of an Ecological Attitude toward Deer, Wolves, and Forest

Robert Gough, Farming the Cutover: A Social History of Northern Wisconsin, 1900-1940 by Robert Gough

People of the Sturgeon: Wisconsin’s Love Affair with an Ancient Fish by Kathleen Schmitt Kline, Ronald M. Bruch, Frederick P. Binkowski and Bob Rashid

Thomas Huffman, Protectors of the Land and Water: Environmentalism in Wisconsin, 1961-1968

Gregory Summers, Consuming Nature: Environmentalism in the Fox River Valley, 1850-1950 (A far-reaching survey of how uses of nature affected lives and development in the Valley.)

Robert Willging  On the Hunt: The History of Deer Hunting in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Land and Life, edited by Robert C. Ostergren and Thomas R. Vale (best source on geographical history of state)

ICONIC FIGURES TO READ MORE FROM AND ABOUT

Aldo Leopold!!!

John Muir (Story of my boyhood and youth includes his writings about Wisconsin.)

Gaylord Nelson

PERIODICALS

Big River: http://www.bigrivermagazine.com/

A SELECTION OF OTHER AUTHORS

Jerry Apps (rural writing, rural history)

John Bates (natural history of North Woods)

August Derleth, WaldenWest (and other titles)

Mel Ellis

Frances Hamerstrom (pioneering female natural historian)

Randy Hoffman, Wisconsin’s Natural Communities: how to recognize them, where to find them

Justin Isherwood

Laurie Lawlor, This Tender Place: Journal of a Wetland Year

Ben Logan, The Land Remembers

Jill Metcoff, Along the Wisconsin Riverway (photos)

Gordon McQuarrie

Lorine Niedecker (poems that closely observe life near Lake Koshkonong)

Sigurd Olson (particularly about Boundary Waters in Minnesota and Ontario)

Richard Quinney, Where yet the sweet birds sing

Kenny Salwey (stories of living, hunting, and more along the Mississippi)

George Vukelich (outdoors columnist)

AND, IF I MAY…

For readings to get you fired up to enjoy winter in Wisconsin, check out my blog: http://milwaukeesnow.com/

FILMS ON WISCONSIN NATURE WRITERS AND HISTORY:

“Green Fire” (2011) on Aldo Leopold: http://www.greenfiremovie.com/

FAVORITE NATURE GUIDES OF MINE

Hoffman, Randy Wisconsin’s Natural Communities: How to Recognize Them, Where to Find Them by Randy Hoffman (2002)

PARTS OF THESE BOOKS ARE ON WISCONSIN

Noah Adams, Saint Croix Notes: river mornings, radio nights

Laurie Allman, Far from tame: reflections from the heart of a continent

Great Lakes: Natural History of a Changing Region, Wayne Grady author, Emily Damstra illustrator

Places of Grace: the natural landscapes of the American Midwest, Photos by Gary Irving, Essay by Michal Strutin

BOOKS ABOUT REGION WHICH HELP US UNDERSTAND WISCONSIN

John Knott, Imagining the Forest: Narratives of Michigan and the Upper Midwest Imagining the Forest offers a breathtakingly rich literary and cultural history of human interactions with the forests of the Upper Peninsula, ranging from the stories of the Anishinabeg and the songs of the lumberjacks to the novels of Jim Harrison and the documents of current policy-makers. ” —Christoph Irmscher

YET MORE BOOKS ABOUT NATURE IN WISCONSIN

Stephen Apfelbaum  Nature’s Second Chance: Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm (2010)

R. Bruce Allison Every Root an Anchor: Wisconsin’s Famous and Historic Trees

Candice Gaukel Andrews, Beyond the Trees: Stories of Wisconsin’s Forests (2013)

Gary Busha, Lines on Lake Winnebago (2002)

Hazel St. Germain Grange Live Arrival Guaranteed: A Sandhill Memoir (1996)

Edward Heth My Life on Earth (1953) [Back to the land reflections, from Milwaukee to rural Wisconsin.]

Edward Leuders The Clam Lake Papers: A Winter in the North Woods : Introducing the Metaphorical Imperative & Kindred Matters. (1977)

Roy Lukes, Out on a Limb: A Journal of Wisconsin Birding (1979)

Northern Passages : Reflections from Lake Superior Country by Michael Van Stappen and Kate Wright (1998)

Stories from the Shore, Wisconsin DNR http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ShorelandZoning/Celebrate/ShoreStories.html

Douglas Stamm Underwater: Northern Lakes (1977) [Photos on that topic.]

Wild Goose Marsh: Horicon Stopover, by Robert E. Gard and Edgar G. Mueller (1972) [Photos and text]

SEE ALSO: LINKS ON SIDE OF PAGE FOR CURRENTLY ACTIVE AUTHOR BLOGS AND WEBSITES

HISTORY BOOKS WITH RELATED MATERIAL

John Gurda, Making of Milwaukee The starting point for Milwaukee history. Includes material on decisions made about how to transform Milwaukee’s nature.

Wheel Fever: How Wisconsin became a great cycling state, Nick Hoffman and Jesse Gant. Biking in 19th century Wisconsin.

 

Had I world enough and time, I would read all of the books I could about Wisconsin. But given limited time, I could only include so many titles. I apologize to those authors I left out. I am happy to hear other suggestions to add to this page! (Particularly for 1. current authors with websites and 2. authors who write about their appreciation of winter in this state.)

Happy reading!

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One Response to Reading Recommendations: A List of Wisconsin Nature Writing

  1. Pingback: Roundup of writing about winter 2013-4 | milwaukeesnow

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