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Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges

Smithsonian Book of National Wildlife Refuges
Eric Jay Dolin
Smithsonian Institution Pres
Publication Date: 

cloth, 258 p., $39.95

Relatively unknown to most Americans, the National Wildlife Refuge System, a network of federal lands dedicated to wildlife conservation, contains 95 million acres, exceeding that of the National Park System. Established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, this refuge system provides habitats for a diversity of plant and animal life, with sites in every state and many United States territories. Author Eric Jay Dolin has written an informative text on the history of the federal lands and the actions that brought about their creation. His report on the depletion of wildlife during the “Age of Extermination” is stirring.

The beautiful full-color photographs of the refuges and their inhabitants, both plants and animals, are the joint work of John and Karen Hollingsworth. Their subjects range far and wide; they have caught the fragility of the endangered prairie white-fringed orchid in bloom, the light-footed clapper rail at high tide in a coastal marsh, a golden eagle nest high on a cliff, and powerful buffalo thundering across the plain.

This publication, in celebration of the refuge system's centennial, is a fitting review of the incredibly diverse habitats that established the U.S. as one of the global leaders in wildlife conservation.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden