Gary Paul Nabhan

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Gathering the Desert

By Gary Paul Nabhan; Illustrated by Paul Mirocha
The University of Arizona Press

Winner of the John Burroughs Medal for natural history writing, Gathering the Desert profiles twelve edible wild plants found in the Sonoran Desert to demonstrate just how bountiful the land can be. Gary Paul Nabhan has combed the desert in search of plants forgotten by all but a handful of American Indians and Mexican Americans. Each chapter focuses on a particular plant and is accompanied by an original drawing by artist Paul Mirocha. Word and picture together create a total impression of plants and people as the book traces the turn of seasons in the desert.

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Counting Sheep

Twenty Ways of Seeing Desert Bighorn

The University of Arizona Press
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Counting Sheep

The University of Arizona Press

Imagine sending a number of nature writers out into the same unrelenting stretch of Sonoran Desert. Then consider telling them to focus their attention on just one animal—Ovis canadensis, popularly called the desert bighorn or borrego cimarrón—and have them write about it. Have them write from makeshift blinds or from behind a gun barrel. Have them write while walking across the Cabeza Prieta at night, or while flying over it trying to radio-collar the creatures. Have them write from actual sightings of the animals or simply from their tracks and droppings.

What would result from such an exercise is Counting Sheep, an unusual anthology that demonstrates the range of possibilities in nature writing. While ostensibly a collection of writings about these desert sheep that live along the U.S.-Mexico border, it also represents an attempt to broaden the scope of the natural history essay.

Writers trained in a wide range of disciplines spanning the natural and social sciences here offer a similarly diverse collection of writings, with women's, Hispanic, and Native American views complementing those in a genre long dominated by Anglo men. The four sections of the anthology comprise pre-Anglo-American tradition, examples of early nature writing, varied responses by modern writers to actually counting sheep, and a selection of essays that place bighorns in the context of the larger world.

Counting Sheep celebrates the diversity of cultural responses to this single animal species in its Sonoran Desert habitat and invites readers to change the way in which they view their relationship to wild creatures everywhere. It also shows how nature writers can delight us all by the varied ways in which they practice their craft.

Contributors:

Charles Bowden

David E. Brown

Bill Broyles

Julian Hayden

William T. Hornaday

Paul Krausman

Danny Lopez

Eric Mellink

Mauricio Mixco

Gale Monson

Gary Paul Nabhan

Doug Peacock

Kermit Roosevelt

Harley G. Shaw

Charles Sheldon

Peter Steinhart

Anita Alvarez de Williams

Terry Tempest Williams

Ann Zwinger

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The Desert Smells Like Rain

A Naturalist in O'odham Country

The University of Arizona Press
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Enduring Seeds

Native American Agriculture and Wild Plant Conservation

The University of Arizona Press
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Tequila

A Natural and Cultural History

The University of Arizona Press
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Woodlands in Crisis

A Legacy of Lost Biodiversity on the Colorado Plateau

Bilby Research Center, NAU
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Unnatural Landscapes

Tracking Invasive Species

The University of Arizona Press
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Arab/American

Landscape, Culture, and Cuisine in Two Great Deserts

The University of Arizona Press
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Aridland Springs in North America

Ecology and Conservation

The University of Arizona Press
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Desert Terroir

Exploring the Unique Flavors and Sundry Places of the Borderlands

University of Texas Press
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