Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Nature of Kansas Lands: All About the Photography

The Nature of Kansas Lands with essays by Elizabeth Schultz, landscape photographs by Edward Robison, and wildlife photography by Kyle Gerstner. Biologist Kelly Kindscher also compiled facts relating to each of the essay topics.

I found this book at the library and thought it might be a good idea to read some nature essays set in Kansas aloud to the children. I thought it might give us some language to describe what we see on our own nature walks.

The essays are mainly set in the northeast, I think, with only a few talking about areas in the west. I don't know much about nature writing, having mostly read bits and pieces of John Muir. He is, perhaps, a difficult wordsmith to follow. Repeatedly, I found phrases awkward and word choices odd. Words like "circumference" and "intricacies" appeared with surprising frequently. Often, too, there would be a list of trees, vines, or flowers, but little indication what any of them looked like. I suppose we could search for images of them online, but it's an interruption to pull out my computer while we're reading aloud.

The photography, however, is amazing.

I always read the facts aloud, though many of them contained information uninteresting to the children or simply too focused on numbers to register. I am always astounded when the numbers of bison are repeated.
Approximately 50 million bison roamed across prairies of North America before European settlement.
Only 250,000 bison graze grasslands across the United States today.

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