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Wild in the City: A Guide to Portland's Natural Areasby Michael C. Houck and M. J. Cody
Synopses & Reviews
In some parts of the United States, the notions of "urban wildlife," "urban naturalist," and "urban forest" might raise an eyebrow, but in Oregon, and particularly in the Portland area, we know better. We know that greenspaces are more than the islands growing between sidewalk pavers, that they are "natural areas, open space, trails and greenways that function for both wildlife and people." We can say "urban forest" with a straight face because Forest Park, a 5,000-acre oxymoron, ambles over the west hills of our city. It is all part of what makes our region unique.
Wild in the City: A Guide to Portland's Natural Areas showcases those unique qualities with site guides and essays describing over 90 greenspaces and natural areas in our metropolitan region.
Co-editors and former classmates, Houck and Cody have differing, yet complementary views of this book's genesis. According to Cody's introduction, "If this project started anywhere, it started on the Clackamas River nearly 30 years ago. We were teenagers rambling the shores, not observing particularly, but absorbing.... It was a magic realm teeming with life before we thought about habitat, environment, conservation. We lived in a logging community on the edge of the wild and didn't fathom a time when we would worry about how to keep a beautiful, tender place."
Mike Houck, urban naturalist for the Audubon Society of Portland, describes Wild in the City as the "product of serendipity and hard work." The book began with the Audubon Society of Portland. Their seasonal journal, the Urban Naturalist, first published in the summer of 1982, was dedicated exclusively to exploring the natural history of indigenous and exotic plants and animals of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region. The Urban Naturalist was written, illustrated, and designed by an impassioned group of volunteers from across the metropolitan region. Magic, beauty, serendipity, and hard work always seem to coalesce around the work of volunteers! Since Oregon's state motto is "She flies with her own wings," the OHS Press is especially pleased that we are able to preserve and expand on this important aspect of the work of the Audubon Society of Portland.
Wild in the City is organized around the eight watersheds in the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area: the lower Willamette, Tualatin, Clackamas, lower Columbia, and Sandy Rivers as well as Johnson Creek, Columbia Slough, and several Clark County, Washington watersheds. It is an invitation and guide to explore the flora and fauna of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan region's urban greenspaces by foot, bike, canoe, kayak or even from a comfortable chair. There are thoughtful essays by some of the region's finest writers including Kim Stafford, Robert Michael Pyle, and Robin Cody as well as over 50 others. It contains maps for over 90 sites, beautiful wildlife illustrations, suggestions for a nature library, and a seasonal calendar to remind the reader of what to look for at various times of the year. Written by writers eager to share the unique qualities of this area, this will be a good book on your bookshelf, but a better book in your backpack.
Book News Annotation:
With over 85 maps and guides to natural sites, this book shows the reader the best places to escape from the city of Portland, in the city of Portland. It's aimed at hikers, cyclists, canoeists or armchair naturalists wanting to learn about the city's greenspaces. The book opens with several essays on the area, some geographical, some geological, and some philosophical, before splitting further into eight regions, each with detailed descriptions of individual parks or other natural areas. Interspersed through the book are discussions on various mammals, plants, birds, even arachnids.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Discover the green spaces of the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area. Info for the hiker, biker, boater, birder, or armchair enthusiast.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 408-410) and index.
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