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Enchanted by Prairie

By: Bill Witt and Osha Gray Davidson

96 pages, 64 colour photos

University of Iowa Press

Hardback | May 2009 | #181119 | ISBN-13: 9781587298035
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NHBS Price: £26.95 $35/€31 approx

About this book

June grass at sunset, Indian grass at sunrise, hawk moths and monarch butterflies nectaring on purple fringed orchids and rough blazing star, little bluestem and saw-tooth sunflowers and butterfly milkweed in hill prairies and sand prairies, and blue skies and one bright rainbow arching over them all. Bill Witt has been photographing Iowa's wild places for more than thirty years, and the result is this collection of splendid images that reveal the glorious beauty and diversity of the state's prairie remnants.

Witt gives us close-ups of pasque flower shoots covered with ice in spring, coneflowers dancing in a summer breeze, and prairie dropseed in its autumn colors as well as such prairie companions as sandhill cranes, northern harriers, and bison. His panoramic visions of prairie landscapes in all seasons focus on the personal pleasure and spiritual sustenance that connecting with prairies, even small and neglected ones, can bring us. Osha Davidson's essay compares today's prairie remnants with yesterday's expanses and calls for us to restore balance to this damaged landscape. Altogether, "Enchanted by Prairie" celebrates today's prairie landscape and encourages us, in Davidson's words, to restore its 'beauty and scents and textures and sounds'.

Iowa's tallgrass prairie was gone before we were born. Bill Witt's marvelous photos of Iowa's tallgrass prairie and prose by Osha Davidson and Bill Witt give us a vision of what the prairie was and what it can do for us today. We did not save the prairie, but perhaps it can save us.--Carl Kurtz

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Longtime photojournalist and former state representative Bill Witt is the intellectual property officer for the University of Northern Iowa. His photos and essays have been published in the Iowan, Iowa Heritage Illustrated, Sierra, Nature Conservancy, and the Sun. The Sierra Club named him an "American environmental hero" in 1991. He is the author of Orchids in Your Pocket: A Guide to the Native Orchids of Iowa (IOWA 2006). Journalist and author Osha Gray Davidson's work has appeared in the New York Times, Mother Jones, the Nation, the New Republic, and Popular Science, among others. He is the author of five books of nonfiction, the most recent of which is Fire in the Turtle House: The Green Sea Turtle and the Fate of the Ocean.

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