John Muir - America's Naturalist 

By Thomas Locker 

Thomas Locker brings the world and words of John Muir to readers, both the young and the young at heart.  Equally at home in the wilderness of California and Alaska, Muir wrote inspiring lyrical descriptions of nature for the benefit of future generations. 

"There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties." - John Muir 

Rachel Carson - Preserving a Sense of Wonder

By Thomas Locker and Joseph Bruchac 

From a small town in Pennsylvania came a little girl who saw magic in spring fog and heard the ocean's song in her heart. This girl would one day become the groundbreaking author of Silent Spring. In Rachel Carson, readers will experience all the enchantment of nature as seen through the eyes of the budding environmental scientist. 

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will ensure as long as life lasts." - Rachel Carson 

Walking with Henry - The Life and Works of Henry David Thoreau 

By Thomas Locker 

Footstep by footstep, this wondrous introduction to the poet-philosopher offers readers of all ages the chance to understand Thoreau's belief that wilderness offers truth, beauty, and goodness to us all. He was a serious field biologist who studied nature, but also a man who showed us that nature was more than facts to be assembled, arranged, and measured. 

"In short, all good things are wild and free." - Henry David Thoreau 

Hudson - The Story of the River 

By Robert Baron and Thomas Locker 

This is the story of the Hudson River, one of America's earliest settled rivers and the gateway to the American West. It also relates to the story of any river: the Mississippi, the Colorado, the Thames, the Nile, or the Rhine. 

"We are all part of nature and nature is a part of us." Robert Baron and Thomas Locker

Reader Activities

Local Efforts

There are many local, national, and worldwide efforts to support conservation.  Examples include The Sierra Club (founded in part by John Muir), The National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and Project GreenWorld (founded by a student, Kridith Sudev, when he was only 12 years old).

Find a local movement or organization in your community. Provide the history, founders, achievements, and current initiatives they are working on now. Learn how you can get involved!  Can you volunteer?  Can you reach out to local politicians and community members to spread their mission? 

Preservation vs. Conservation

Conservation and Preservation are closely linked and may indeed seem to mean the same thing.  Both terms involve a degree of protection, but how that protection is carried out is the key difference. Define both terms and complete a venn diagram (click for more detail and explanation) for conservation and preservation. What are the similarities and differences between the two movements?

Find a local (or national) example that supports conversation and one that supports preservation. Reach out to representatives from those organizations for their perspectives on conversation vs. preservation. Finally, what do you think? Is one better than the other? Write up your opinion and share with others. 

Create Your Argument

Chose one of the following:

John Muir: Imagine the Sierra Club was going to be disbanded. They are in need of someone to argue their worth and create a case to keep their doors open. Research the work and history of the Sierra Club. Create a defense that highlights the work of the Sierra Club and what could have happened to specific efforts, communities, species, etc. if they had not intervened (in your opinion). Use at least two specific outcomes that Sierra Club achieved and one additional source to support their work. (Be sure to cite your sources)

Rachel Carson: Research Silent Spring. Create an argument, in your own words, why farmers should stop using pesticides that poison local birds and wildlife.  What would be the outcomes be if those species became extinct? Use at least two sources in your argument. (Be sure to cite your sources)

Walking with Henry: Save Walden Pond! Imagine that companies are moving into the woods surrounding Walden Pond. Research both poetry by Henry David Thoreau and combine this poetry and imagery with facts that support conservation efforts specific to the local area by Walden Pond in Massachusetts.  Use at least one poem and one statistic for your argument. (Be sure to cite your poem and statistic) 

Hudson: On page 22, the authors speak about a class-action suit against a power company that wants to blast a hole in Storm King Mountain. Imagine you are an active participant in the suit to save the mountain. Research and create an argument supporting the community.  Use at least two statistics to support your argument specific to the local ecology and impact on the Hudson River. (Be sure to cite your sources)

Supplemental Videos and Materials 

Listen to a catchy tune while learning more about what you can do to help conservation efforts on a daily basis:

Schoolhouse Rock Schoolhouse Rock! Think of other ways to help the conservation movement!

Hear from Thomas Locker!