A committed conservationist, Smith (Homestead) has written a graceful historyboth natural and culturalof the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, a 37,500-acre refuge established by the Nature Conservancy in Oklahoma. When the possibility of a national prairie preserve in Oklahoma foundered on political shoals in 1987, the Nature Conservancy stepped in. The goals were to protect some of the native plants and animals of the only "substantial biome that had not been included in a system of national parks and preserves" and to allow the public to experience a taste of prairie lifestyle. "It is impossible to fully understand America without seeing the prairie," proclaimed Oklahoma Senator David Boren when bison were released onto the preserve in 1993. Smith does an admirable job of describing wildlife, nicely balancing the biological with the aesthetic. She excels in re-creating what has truly been lostthe people and cultures of the American prairie. She writes of the lives of Native Americans, ranchers, oil workers and townsfolk with sensitivity but without undue nostalgia. The almost 200 color photographs by Harvey Payne and the approximately 100 black-and-white archival pictures combine with Smith's text to make an attractive package. (Oct.)
Montana author Smith (Homestead, LJ 5/1/95) left her home in the high desert mountains to study the Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve project. Originally a working cattle ranch of over 37,000 acres in northern Oklahoma, the conservancy is attempting to use bison-grazing and selective burning to restore an extinct prairie ecosystem. In a profusely illustrated volume, Smith examines the natural history of the land as well as the impact humans have had on it. Perhaps most importantly, she describes what should be considered a model preservation/restoration project funded primarily by donations that uses cooperation instead of force or intimidation to win the support of local residents. Recommended for all regional, range-management, and natural history collections. [See also Richard Manning's Grassland, LJ 7/95, and Marcy Houle's The Prairie Keepers, LJ 4/1/95.Ed.]Tim J. Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, Wash.
The Nature Conservancy has begun an ecological experiment on one of North America's last remaining expanses of grasslands. Beyond simply conserving the place, they are studying it and shaping it anew<-- >bringing back bison and seeding with fire to liberate the biodiversity of a land never broken by the plow. Writer Smith was employed to present what is known and being researched concerning the natural ecosystem of the Osage tallgrass prairie, as well as the historical human uses of the prairie that have shaped its attributes. Color photos by Harvey Payne, who grew up and lives in the area, reveal his intimate knowledge and reverence for the land and its flora and fauna. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Annick Smith is a writer of essays & short fiction whose film-producer credits include "A River Runs Through It" & "Heartland". She writes for "The New York Times", "Los Angeles Times", "Audubon", "Travel & Leisure", "Modern Maturity", "Outside", "Travel & Leisure", & is the author of "Homestead", & was coeditor with William Kittredge of "The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology". Born in Paris, raised in Chicago, Smith has lived for thirty years on her homestead ranch outside of Missoula, Montana.