June 29, 2015

Bees, butterflies, and being a better human being

As long-time readers of the blog know, I love reading and learning about environmental science and what it all means in terms of the conservation of resources. To that end, A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm was a logical choice. (Its predecessor, A Sting in the Tale, which focused on bees exclusively has now been added to the list.) This book focused on Goulson's quest to recreate a meadow with biodiversity of fauna and flora on a plot of land (used to harvest cereal before his purchase) he bought in France. Not only was he hoping to play his part in conservation by starting this project but he was discouraged by the limited resources of his university for conducting wildlife experiments over extended periods of time and hoped this would remedy that problem. He has gone to great lengths to learn as much as he can about the creatures and plants that inhabit his small paradise. Each chapter begins with a small journal excerpt  from the summer months when he and his family live on the property. (These are typically humorous or wistful in turns.) The book was divided into parts which covered his cultivation of the meadow, different plant and animal species and their behavior, his work with bees which was covered in his first book extensively, and ecological conservation. It wasn't written in dry, academic jargon so the layperson should feel comfortable enough to give this book a shot. If you're curious about the mysteries of the natural world or want to dip your toe into conservation/environmental sciences  then I definitely recommend this book to you. (Also, I think we should all read A Sting in the Tale together.)

I love perusing the new additions to the non-fiction section of the library. I've found some real gems there such as the next book up for review: The Great Fire: One American's Mission to Rescue Victims of the 20th Century's First Genocide by Lou Ureneck. This is the story of Asa Jennings, a YMCA worker, working in Smyrna at the time of the Turkish soldiers advance through the city. Many people were killed during this time and many Greek and Armenians fled. However, Jennings stayed and along with a naval officer named Halsey Powell they were able to rescue more than 250,000 people. I know very little about this historical event so I'm very excited to read this one.

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