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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

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Good Reads  Marine & Freshwater Biology  Freshwater Biology  Freshwater Habitat

Life in the Tar Seeps A Spiraling Ecology from a Dying Sea

By: Gretchen Ernster Henderson(Author)
228 pages, b/w photos
Life in the Tar Seeps
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  • Life in the Tar Seeps ISBN: 9781595342737 Paperback Jun 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £17.99
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About this book

At Great Salt Lake in Utah, near Robert Smithson's iconic earthwork Spiral Jetty, a motley crew of scientists walks the mudflats to study fossils in the making. This reputedly dead sea is home to tar seeps, pools of raw oil (nicknamed 'death traps') that act as a preservative, encasing organisms as they were in life.

In this spare landscape, an intricate web of life unfurls. Halophiles salt-hungry microorganisms tint the brackish water pink and orange; crystals of gypsum stud the ground, glistening underfoot; and pelicans and other migratory birds stop for a crucial rest. Barn owls and seagulls flirt with their prey around the seeping constellations, sometimes falling prey to the oil themselves. Gretchen Henderson came to the tar seeps, a kind of natural asphalt, after recovering from being hit by a car as she walked in a crosswalk a manmade asphalt. Like the spiralling artwork that made Great Salt Lake's north shore famous, Henderson's associations of life and death, degeneration and regeneration, and injury and healing coalesced. As she reexamined pressing issues that this delicate area revealed about the climate crisis, her sense of ecology spiralled into other ways of perceiving the lake's entangled lives.

How do we move beyond narrow concepts of wounded and healed, the beautiful and the ugly, to care for ecosystems that evolve over time? How do we confront our vulnerability to recognize kindred dynamics in our living planet? Through shifting lake levels, bird migrations, microbial studies, environmental arts, and cultural histories shaped by indigenous knowledge and colonial legacies, Life in the Tar Seeps contemplates the ways that others have understood this body of water, enlivening more than this region alone. As Henderson witnesses scientists, art curators, land managers, and students working collaboratively to steward a challenging place, she grows to see the lake not as dead but as a watershed for shifting perceptions of any overlooked place, offering a meditation on environmental healing across the planet.

Henderson interweaves her journey with her own vivid photographs of tar seeps and pelican death assemblages, historic maps and contemporary art, as a wayfinding guide for exploring places of our own.

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Gretchen Ernster Henderson writes across environmental arts, cultural histories, and integrative sciences. Her recent essays have appeared in Ecotone, Ploughshares, and the Kenyon Review, with co-authored articles in Nature Sustainability and Conservation Biology. Her four previous books include Ugliness: A Cultural History and Galerie de Difformite, cross-pollinating genres and arts and translated across five languages. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin and has also taught at Georgetown University, MIT, and the University of Utah, where she was the 2018-19 Annie Clark Tanner Fellow in Environmental Humanities. Born and raised in California, she is the 2023 Aldo and Estella Leopold Writer in Residence in New Mexico and lives in Arizona.

By: Gretchen Ernster Henderson(Author)
228 pages, b/w photos
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