Saturday, January 17, 2015

Book review of Himalayan travel adventure: 'Between Heaven and Hell'

Between Heaven & Hell: Trouble and Joy in a Lost Himalayan ParadiseBetween Heaven & Hell: Trouble and Joy in a Lost Himalayan Paradise by Bob Shacochis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can we invest our spirit in an unadulterated landscape and find sacredness? Bob Schacochis’ new travel adventure explores this question within a community of travelers. The Nepalese district of Mustang fosters the original Tibetan culture and was about as undeveloped as any place that harbors ancient culture can be (a highway has since cut the region). This seems to be the place where one would be able to explore the human connection to wilderness. Yet it is the focus on the people acting in response to the raw places, more than the place itself, which reveal the sinuous threads of meaning. Rest of review at

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Have you every wondered about the land that contains and surrounds the famous shack from the classic A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold? This land has had a rich history and contiues to evolve as culture, climate, and people change. Learn about it in: Living a Land Ethic: A History of Cooperative Conservation on the Leopold Memorial Preserve, by Stephen A. Laubach. University of Wisconsin Press, 2014, 107 pages. About a decade ago, I asked dear friend Nina Leopold Bradley, daughter of Aldo Leopold, about the relationship between the Leopold Study Preserve, the Sand County Foundation, and the Aldo Leopold Foundation in Baraboo Wisconsin. She said “It’s complicated” and in my memory she uncharacteristically rolled her eyes before changing the subject. The subtle hint at complexity and conflict served as my only answer. Nina died in her Leopold Preserve home in 2011 at age 93. Stephen Laubach has finally answered the complicated questions about how many organizations and individuals cooperated in honoring and managing the Leopold Preserve and associated organizations in Living a Land Ethic.
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Beef and butterflies

Photo courtesy of Environmental Defense Fund Austin-area ranchers  and conservationists show beef and butterflies  can thrive...