Launchpad: Prairie, by Candace Savage

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This spring we've made it our mission (even more than usual) to celebrate new releases in the wake of cancelled launch parties, book festivals, and reading series. With 49th Shelf Launchpad, we're holding virtual launch parties here on our platform complete with witty banter and great insight to give you a taste of the books on offer. You can request these books from your local library, get them as e-books or audio books, order them from your local indie bookseller if they're delivering, buy them direct from the publisher or from online retailers.

Today we're launching the revised edition of Candace Savage's Prairie: A Natural History of the Heart of North America, which the Globe and Mail says is "...impelled with its sense of the miraculous in nature."

*****

The Elevator Pitch. Tell us about your book in a sentence.

Prairie: a Natural History of the Heart of North America is a love letter to the largest ecosystem on the continent, revealing beauty and fascination that are hiding in plain sight.

Describe your ideal reader.

Happiest with a garden trowel in one hand and binoculars in the other. Has a secret crush on David Suzuki. Reads and re-reads Margaret Laurence.

What authors/books is your work in conversation with: 

Trevor Herriot, Lorna Crozier, Annora Brown, David Carpenter, Ariel Gordon

What is something interesting you learned about your book/yourself/ your subject during the process of creating and publishing your book? 

Did you know that, collectively, all the little ponds and wetlands on the Great Plains (we called them “sloughs” out West) cover an area larger than the Great Lakes? They are made to dry right out and then come back to life when they fill up again. Amazing!

Prairie originally came out in 2004. What’s been updated and added in this new, revised edition:

The prairies have been blowing in the wind for more than ten thousand years, and the fundamentals of grassland ecology have not changed. So it makes sense that the content and structure of this book have withstood the test of the last sixteen years. That said, there were facts and figures that did need to be refreshed. This new edition brings the reader up to date on the numbers of endangered species, the area of surviving natural grasslands, changes in policy and practice that affect the health of prairie ecosystems, and so on.

Beyond that, the book also responds to our ever-more-urgent understanding of the role natural grasslands can play in mitigating both the climate emergency and the global biodiversity crisis. Grasslands are resilient, and resilience is a source of hope.

An important part of any book launch is the thank you’s. Go ahead, and acknowledge someone whose support has been integral to this project. 

No sane person would launch into a project of this magnitude alone, so I am endlessly grateful to my long-time publisher, Rob Sanders of Greystone Books, for persuading me to take it on. Yes, it was a lot of work, but it has been transformative for me, providing grounding in my life and inspiration for new projects.

What are you reading right now or next? 

I may have been the first person to purchase Small Reckonings, by my neighbour Karin Melberg Schwier, just out from Burton House Books, and already a winner of the John V. Hicks Manuscript Award. Can’t wait.

*****

 

About Prairie:

Candace Savage's acclaimed and beautifully written guide to the ecology of the prairies, now revised and updated.
This revised edition of Prairie features a new preface along with updated research on the effects of climate change on an increasingly vulnerable landscape.
It also offers new information on:

  •     conservation of threatened species, including the black-tailed prairie dog and farmland birds;
  •     grassland loss and conservation;
  •     the health of rivers and the water table;
  •     the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on prairie wetlands;
  •     the benefits of regenerative agriculture

Illustrated with elegant black-and-white line drawings and maps, this award-winning tome continues to be a highly readable guide to understanding the ecology, geological history, biodiversity, and resilience of the prairies.
Illustrated with elegant black-and-white line drawings and maps, this award-winning tome continues to be a highly readable guide to understanding the ecology, geological history, biodiversity, and resilience of the prairies.

April 14, 2020
Books mentioned in this post
Prairie

Prairie

A Natural History of the Heart of North America Tagline: Revised Edition
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback eBook
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