Book: “Beyond the Wonder: An Ecologist’s View of Wild Alaska”

I am excited to tell you that my book, Beyond the Wonder: An Ecologist’s View of Wild Alaska, will be published by Washington State University Press in August 2024. The book will be over 220 pages and contain 100 color photographs. The story uses a week-long trip in Alaska to explore the ecology of birds, mammals, and fish, look at conservation issues, and contemplate the importance of wild country for our well-being. It allowed me to reflect on my conservation and science career and ponder life’s challenges. I am trained as an ecologist and spend my life working on conserving nature. The trip was a chance to be in the true wild.

Beyond the Wonder: An Ecologist's View of Wild Alaska by Thomas Bancroft

One of my charges at The Wilderness Society was to help bring a science component to our conservation work in Alaska. The landscape is wild and extensive but under many threats from development, climate change, and greed. We added an ecological and economic component to the excellent policy and advocacy work. I went to Anchorage several times while we built that program. This trip, though, was the first time I was embedded in wild Alaska and saw bears and salmon do their things, unaffected by humans. Something is humbling about standing on a creek bank, watching bears chase salmon. The bears knew we were there but never acknowledged our existence. The sense of awe swelled in me.

Washington State University Press wrote this about the book,

Wild things are essential to human wellbeing. Whether standing in a crystal-clear river feeling dozens of sockeye salmon swim around his legs, watching gulls lurk around a feeding bear, meeting a thrush by a Lake Clark cabin, pondering conservationist Dick Proenneke’s determination, flying over spectacular volcanoes, mountains, and glaciers, or sitting beside a pilot who has lived his entire life in wild Alaska, Bancroft felt a profound awe and respect for Alaska’s wild creatures and landscape. He also found himself contemplating his own life choices, family relationships, and career. More than just a biological perspective on Alaska’s wonders, a discussion of potential environmental impacts from tourism, mining, and climate change, a personal travel account, or a collection of dynamic photographs, Beyond the Wonder is a beautiful meditation on nature—one that highlights the importance of untamed places and the role they play in crafting a better world.

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The author at Dick Proenneke's Cabin on Katmai Peninsula, Alaska
The author contemplates what it would be like to spend a year in a cabin deep in the wilderness.

#nature #wildlifephotography #alaskabear #alaskanwildlife #alaskaphotography #alaskawilderness #alaskaadventure #beyondthewonder #katmainps #grizzly #sockeye #salmon #glaciers #littleiceage #pleistocene #volcanos #dickpronneke #lakeclarknationalpark 

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