Signals from the Heartland

Tony Fitzpatrick, Author
Tony Fitzpatrick, Author Walker & Company $22.95 (230p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1260-8
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To Fitzpatrick, a science writer based in St. Louis, the heartland is Missouri and Illinois--an important ecosystem in trouble. He explores the region with naturalists, farmers and scientists who are actively involved with such environmental issues as water pollution, soil conservation, silting and the restoration of wetlands. Peter Raven, a biologist and director of the Missouri Botanic Garden, collects endangered plant species; Robert Mohlenbrock has developed a conservation plan for the cypress swamps of southern Illinois. Two other scientists are re-creating a tallgrass prairie; a farmer practices conservation tillage on his corn and soybean fields. Fitzpatrick tours the Tyson Research Center, a living biological laboratory in Missouri where songbird migration is monitored and wolves are raised to be returned to the wild. As reported here, the signals from this area of shrinking farms and wetland, which is marked by suburban sprawl and disrupted by interstates, are nevertheless encouraging. Photos. (Jan.)
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