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9781643262178

Bad Naturalist One Woman’s Ecological Education on a Wild Virginia Mountaintop

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781643262178

  • ISBN10:

    1643262173

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2025-01-07
  • Publisher: Timber Press
  • Purchase Benefits
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Summary

A journey of humor, humility, and awe as one woman attempts to restore 200 acres of farmland long gone-to-seed in the Blue Ridge Mountains, facing her own limitations while getting to know a breathtaking corner of the natural world.
 
When writer Paula Whyman climbs to a peak in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in search of an empty-nester home in the country, her plans for a tidy backyard ecology project quickly morph into a massive endeavor. Just as quickly, she discovers how little she knows about hands-on conservation work. In Bad Naturalist, Whyman struggles with conflicting advice from experts, an influx of invasive species, delayed plans, and the occasional rattlesnake—but none of it dampens her irrepressible passion for protecting this place. 
 
Bad Naturalist is woven with Whyman's lyrically deft, delightful storytelling as she attempts to coax a beautiful piece of land back into shape. Readers meander with her through orchards and meadows, forests and frog ponds as Whyman's hair fills with broomsedge and she gets lost in her own woods. Preconceived notions about nature fall by the wayside when she discovers that fire can be good, and certain plants can be bad. The mountaintop is, after all, teeming with life and hope amid the seeming chaos of nature, and some of Whyman’s plans for the place eventually go right. In the end, she forms a deep connection with her own corner of the natural world and is reminded that the quest for control is a fool's errand.

Author Biography

Paula Whyman's first book was You May See a Stranger, an award-winning linked short story collection. Her writing has appeared in The Washington PostThe American Scholar, and on NPR, and in journals including McSweeney’s Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, and The Hudson Review. She is a fellow of MacDowell, Yaddo, The Studios of Key West, and VCCA. Her work on this book has been supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council and grants and residencies from Oak Spring Garden Foundation. She spends her time on a mountain in Virginia with her husband and a mercurial standard poodle. Visit Paula online at paulawhyman.com.

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