SMITHSONIAN BOOK OF NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES

Eric Jay Dolin, Author, Karen Hollingsworth, Photographer, John Hollingsworth, Photographer , photos by John and Karen Hollingsworth. Smithsonian $39.95 (258p) ISBN 978-1-58834-117-4

The clearly written text detailing the history of National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) makes a convincing argument for their continuance and expansion. Just as compelling are the Hollingsworths' photos, taken in habitats where plants, animals and insects are protected by law. Photos of red fox pups (Agassiz, Minn.), hatching tundra swans (Yukon Delta, Alaska), an endangered Florida panther, and the Beaver Dam (Fish Springs, Utah) are testaments to the importance of the conservation movement. The voices of nature preservationists of the 19th century, such as John Muir, who founded the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, whose members fought vigorously against the wanton slaughter of birds in order to decorate women's hats, were heard by President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1903 Roosevelt, who had a deep love of nature and wildlife, launched the NWR system by designating Florida's Pelican Island as a preserve for native birds. Dolin (The Duck Stamp Story) spells out the growth of federal refuges, which have survived despite a lack of funding and shifting political fortunes. Ronald Reagan, for example, tried to expand commercial use of refuges, including timber operations and drilling for oil in Alaska. Jimmy Carter, however, was a friend to conservationists and supported the whooping crane project. In 1997, President Clinton signed the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act, which set forth the mission of the system to put the wildlife and ecosystems of the refuges before any other considerations. Color and b&w photos. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/17/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
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