In the Spirit of Wetlands: Reviving Habitat in the Illinois River Watershed

3 Fields: Univ. of Illinois. Jul. 2022. 120p. ISBN 9780252086625. $19.95. NAT HIST
Howard, an independent journalist, profiles a series of conservationists, farmers, scientists, politicians, and businesspersons who have been facilitating the restoration or creation of new wetland habitats along the Illinois River watershed. By turning the spotlight from the science to the passionate people involved in this work, the author highlights the long-term aesthetic and metaphysical benefits of these areas, going beyond the practical environmental benefits of flood reduction, biodiversity, and pollution management. Nature and the wetlands themselves are anthropomorphized as a benevolent and forgiving partner that reward humanity when people work with the natural cycles of the river rather than building dikes, drainage, and irrigation channels. This nearly metaphysical metaphor is enhanced by photojournalist Zalaznik’s black-and-white photos, which capture both the people amid the landscape as well as the natural habitats being reborn or literally brought to life by these projects. A short glossary of scientific terms follows.
VERDICT Citizen environmentalists will be encouraged by the variety of approaches used to accomplish ecological and development goals far beyond this north-central Illinois watershed.
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