John Muir: America's First Environmentalist

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March 25, 2014
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uoting from John Muir's diaries, Kathryn Lasky tells the inspiring tale of one of America's most dedicated environmentalists, aided by Stan Fellows's evocative, dramatic acrylic paintings. From the meadows of Scotland to the farms of Wisconsin, from the swamps of Florida to the Alaskan tundra, John Muir loved the land. Born in 1838, he was a writer, a scholar, an inventor, a shepherd, a farmer, and an explorer, but above all, he was a naturalist. John Muir was particularly devoted to the high cliffs, waterfalls, and ancient giant sequoia trees that, through his careful influence, were set aside as one of the first national parks in America - Yosemite. Here is the life story of the man who, moved by a commitment to wilderness everywhere, founded the Sierra Club in 1892, a conservation group that carries on his crucial work to this day.

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I picked up John Muir: America's First Environmentalist, because I have always had a deep appreciation for the natural world and its preservation. I knew that Muir had founded the Sierra Club and that there was a backcountry trail near Yosemite named after him, but beyond that I had not explored much further into his life. I am sad now about what I didn't know!

This biography details his early life to his last days, and brings to life the impact he had on the shaping of our nation's national parks and environmental policy, not to mention the great philosophical mark Muir made on how we as a people view our relationship to nature. As I read his story, I was excited and intrigued by his life and his passions, and surprised by some things I didn't realize about him at all, including the fact that he was an incredibly intelligent man and inventor. The pull of the natural world around him drove him to become an unforgotten name, and his life should be an inspiration and study to all children and adults.
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