I’m so excited to be kicking off the official release of A WEIRD AND WILD BEAUTY! And the timing couldn’t be better.
144 years ago this month, U.S. geologist Ferdinand Hayden posed a bold question to Americans. He and his team of scientists and artists had just lifted the curtain on Yellowstone, a magical mountain-high region in the Rocky Mountain West full of sparkling pools and bubbling hot pots. Americans were entranced. ‘Wonderland’ became a source of national pride, a land thought not to have a parallel anywhere else on Earth.
But Hayden’s glowing introduction came with a caveat. Yellowstone was in peril, he warned, swarming with treasure hunters eager to claim their prize.
Fearing the region’s wonders could be irreparably lost, Hayden, in an 1872 Scribner’s Monthly article, urgently asked readers:
“Why will not Congress at once pass a law setting [Yellowstone] apart as a great public park for all time…?”
It was a revolutionary idea, one that had been percolating for some time in the United States. It contained two elements: One was that natural beauty should be saved for its own sake. And the second, that its care should be entrusted to ALL people, not just the powerful, wealthy or elite.
We celebrate 100 years of our National Parks this year. It’s cause for both celebration and reflection. I hope my book can engage young people on the topic, and encourage a greater conversation about the future of these amazing spaces in our care.
Feel free to share your thoughts, comments…