Sanctuary Almanac

Jim Stapleton

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"Sanctuary Almanac brings into the new millennium the finest nature writing in the grand tradition of William Bartram, Henry David Thoreau, and John Burroughs-the pursuit of natural history in the original Greek sense of historyas an inquiryinto nature. Jim Stapleton probes, reflects, and fully immerses himself in the natural world in such a transformative way that every day becomes joyously revelatory. The startling originality of his observations makes us feel whisked onto a newly discovered planet that happens to be named Earth." - Frank Bergon, author of Shoshone Mikeand editor of The Wilderness Reader "I love it ....what a delightful tour Jim Stapleton gives of life through the seasons at the Slabsides Sanctuary of writer-naturalist John Burroughs. In upstate New York, nestled between the Hudson and the Catskills, Jim is witness to the seasons, marking time with all the life that swirls about him. Any reader of this Almanac will inevitably become more observant (and protective) of the Sanctuaries around and within each of us." - Donald Kroodsma, author of The Singing Life of Birds "Sanctuary Almanacis a true delight, a personal phenology with all the charm and power of John Burroughs' own essays. Stapleton has written an elegant, good-hearted, and nuanced portrait of a natural history shrine. Readers will come away with a new and clearer way of seeing their own place." - Robert Michael Pyle, author of Sky TIme in Gray's River "Hearing a faint scream in the blue Hudson Valley sky, I glance up from my work in the wood yard ..the red-shouldered hawks are back!"And with them, spring returns to the John Burroughs Sanctuary, a 180-acre nature preserve nestled in the gently rolling hills of West Park, NY, where Jim Stapleton was resident naturalist for a decade. In Sanctuary Almanac, Stapleton takes the reader on a fascinating ramble through the natural year at the reserve:How does it feel to fly like a March crow? Or quake like an aspen tree? What state of mind does an accident victim share with a wounded muskrat? Jim Stapleton outlines a tidy cottage industry using chickadee labor and an age-old marking technique to save wildlife from leg-hold traps. Equal parts natural history, meditation on 'sanctuary', and personal memoir, Sanctuary Almanac is an enchanting walk! ABOUT THE AUTHOR As a young boy growing up in Toledo, Ohio in the 1940's, Jim Stapleton was fascinated by how things work. This preoccupation eventually led him to Gottingen, West Germany and a degree in theoretical physics.He returned to the U.S.in 1962 and spent the next eight years as a hermit in Pennsylvania's Allegheny Mountains. Moving on, he worked on a series of farms, settled in the Mid-Hudson Valley, and pursued advanced degrees in biology and environmental science. In the 1980's he taught at various colleges (Bard, Vassar, and the New School for Social Research); and helped found Hudsonia, a not-for-profit environmental research institute. Stapleton now writes plays -Henry & Emily, an imagined encounter between Thoreau & Dickinson, Playing for Keeps, a love story, Tango As-If. He lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington with his wife, Diana Bigelow.

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