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THE WOODS SCIENTIST by Stephen R. Swinburne


by Stephen R. Swinburne & photographed by Susan C. Morse

Pub Date: March 24th, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-04602-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

The newest entry in the usually exemplary Scientists in the Field series is more platform than profile. Rendering himself nearly invisible, the author allows wildlife conservation activist Sue Morse to lead a class into wintry New England woods. There, illustrated mostly with her own bright, sharp photos, she points out bear, deer, moose, and bobcat signs while explaining at length that wildlife needs not only more space than it’s often allotted, but also corridors that allow it to move between protected areas. Like the young trackers-in-training who pose in the pictures, readers will pick up a few hints about how to look for evidence of local wildlife, but more important, they will come away with a much clearer sense of the importance of conservation. Plus they’ll see the depth of one naturalist’s dedication to it, as well as plenty of encouragement to get personally involved. They will not see much of Morse the research scientist, however, as she has little to say about her academic training or scientific research, and the organization she founded, Keeping Track, is oddly absent from the closing list of contact addresses. This series has done much to expand the horizons of young readers who think that science can only be done in laboratories, but here the difference between inquiry and advocacy is blurred. (index, glossary, paper and electronic resource lists) (Nonfiction. 9-11)