Recently I talked about books that kept me alive in my turbulent teen years. Books that let me know I wasn’t alone, that gave me the strength to go on.
But what about books you had access to real young that helped to make you who you are at a very fundamental level?
I want to talk about one of those books for me. Mother Nature’s Michigan, by Warbach. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources commissioned this book in 1976 from Oscar “Ozz” Warbach, a research biologist with no small amount of artistic talent.
See, for a long time I simply could not grasp people who did not embrace environmentalism. Part of the reason for that is that I was introduced to this book at a very formative time of my life. Along with my environmentalism, as most people understand it, I also embrace hunting to control populations, especially since we’ve far more than decimated predator populations, I advocate for hunting and fishing, since getting people to engage with the environment is one of the best ways to get them to embrace it. Hunters and fishermen have long seen themselves as stewards of the land. You don’t get the stupid rabid rivalry between environmentalists and hunters/fishermen until the 60s or 70s.
Ok, I could go on and on about why hippies and rednecks should be friends in this particular area, but I’ll stop here.
The art and text in this book are simple and clear, definitely easy for a fairly precocious 5 or 6 year old to grasp. The cartoons inside of it explain everything from the life cycle of trees, to the different pressures on animals in the wild, to how pollution really negatively affects things. And, yes, while there are a few digs at indiscriminate hunters, for the most part I don’t know that there’s anything in here that should offend any hunter like the ones I grew up with.
If you can find it, and there are some copies still out there, including a signed copy for $100 I wish I could justify, I highly recommend it particularly to those of you with kids in Michigan. I really wish he had done an entire series of these for all the states.
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