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Biographical and autobiographical study of Archie Carr (1909 – 1987) the eminent naturalist, writer, conservationist, and world authority on sea turtles. This captivating collection of anecdotal, yet detailed, essays typifies the work and insights of the man, and also reflects his particular fascination for this remarkable ecosystem, where he lived for fifty years. Carr was, as Wilson writes in the Foreword, "[...] the South's greatest regional naturalist of his generation [...] No writer exceeds Carr in his ambidextrous handling of human and natural history."
Archie Carr was graduate research professor of zoology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. During his illustrious career he won numerous awards and honors, including the Daniel Giraud Elliott Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the O. Henry Memorial Award for short-story writing, the Hal Borland Award of the National Audubon Society, and the designation of Eminent Ecologist by the Ecological Society of America. His many books include Ulendo, So Excellent a Fishe, and The Windward Road, which won the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing.
"With more people like Carr and more books like this fascinating and thoughtful reminiscence we'd have a shot at restoring and protecting our outdoors."
– Karl Wickstrom, Florida Sportsman Magazine
"A Naturalist in Florida is a brilliant catalogue of some of what is lost and what is left in Florida. Perhaps it will inspire readers to help save its remaining treasures."
– Natural Areas Journal
"Carr's writings are an enchanting mixture of science, history, folk wisdom and humor, all tied together by his unique outlook and superb eye for detail [...] Anyone interested in the natural history of Florida, or simply in good writing, will enjoy this book."
– Stephen E. Stancyk, Trends in Ecology and Evolution
"From the Apalachicola bluffs to the Florida Keys, across a career spanning fifty years, Carr became a uniquely qualified guide through the dwindling wildlands of the state, the world authority on turtles, and the South's greatest regional naturalist of his generation [...] No writer exceeds Carr in his ambidextrous handling of human and natural history."
– Edward O. Wilson, from the Foreword
"Carr described the wildlife and the wild places of the state he loved with a combination of scientific savvy, poetic imagery and humor, cleverly shoehorning in the thematic points."
– Donald Jackson, Smithsonian
"One of those rare books that changes your life and colors the way you see the world, maybe forever."
– Karen Haymon Long, Tribune & Times (Tampa, Florida)
"A Naturalist in Florida combines Carr's unsurpassed insights on nature with superb storytelling. 'Hound Magic' and his many other accounts make this more than pleasure and learning; it's a privilege in reading, the best."
– Lawton Chiles
"Carr will entertain and enlighten new generations with his intimate appreciation of natural beauty and his lifelong commitment to protecting the environment. Whether the subject is lizards or moss, alligators or hyacinths, or whether it's his beloved turtles, he gently but firmly nudges us to appreciate our environmental responsibilities, to respect the past, and to renew our commitment to the future."
– Senator Bob Graham
"Carr's essays of Florida shine with charm, grandeur and a childlike delight. This is the writing not only of a brilliant naturalist, but of a poet and of a journalist. It stands as a memoir to a breathtaking paradise, and as an eloquent call to save what's left of it."
– Carl Hiaasen
"I will read this book often, and each time be reminded of the wonders of Florida and refreshed by Carr's adventures among them."
– Al Burt, Miami Herald
"This collection of the writings of the late Archie Carr is as much a celebration of Florida's natural world as it is a celebration of the talent of one of the state's best known writer-naturalist."
– Tom Palmer, Florida Field Naturalist