paper, 260 p., $22.95
The National Audubon Society's sanctuaries provide a haven for fauna and flora across the United States; they also provide a haven for a fascinating collection of naturalists, marsh managers, ornithologists and others ready to go to any extreme to preserve wildlife. This book contains essays about 15 different Audubon sanctuaries. The essays originally appeared in a newsletter called Places To Hide and Seek, a journal for those interested in the work of Society's wardens in different sanctuaries. As such, they neither provide quantitative detail on the flora and fauna of each sanctuary nor delineate their changes over time. Instead, these pieces offer insights into the day-to-day management of some very complex organizations, where wardens deal with local politics, exotic fauna and flora, and real dangers every day. The opening essay, for example, looks at the Paul J. Rainey Sanctuary in southwest Louisiana, which consists of tens of thousand of acres established to protect geese, terns, kingbirds, cormorants and many other species of birds. Between descriptions of gumbo and alligators, hurricanes and salt water intrusion, you begin to develop a real appreciation of the care, sensitivity and intelligence of sanctuary staff in keeping ecosystems vibrant with life in all of its many forms. All of the essays in this volume, treating sanctuaries largely along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, are like diaries, providing illuminating and humorous insights into the work of dedicated individuals across the country. Not a dull academic treatise, this book proves the value of these sanctuaries as centers of biodiversity and research — efforts that are slowing the latest extinction event in this planet's history.
— Edward J. Valauskas, Manager, Library and Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden