I hope you are all well as you receive these words.
I have devoted several past issues of this newsletter to Nature Writers with a strong focus on those living in or writing about Tennessee. Today, I introduce a few others whose works I am just beginning to explore.
But first, some shameless self-promotion.
My short story "Family" appears as the final piece in the 2022 edition of the Mildred Haun Review. The Review is a journal of Appalachian culture, and my piece fits the motif. https://www.ws.edu/_media/pdf/special-events/mildred/review/2022-review.pdf.
My essay "How I Became a Poet" will appear in an upcoming edition of Waxing and Waning, a literary magazine from April Gloaming Publishing in Nashville. They also published the Sinew anthology from Poetry in the Brew, an open-mic poetry group that met online during the pandemic. Poetry in the Brew returned to Portland Brew East, a coffee shop in east Nashville, and I have a poem in the Sinew anthology.
Now for the Promised Content
Other Nature Authors Briefly Noted
Many of the referenced works are available online.
Edward Abbey (1927 – 1989) was born in Home, Pennsylvania, and lived most of his adult life in the desert southwest, where many of his works are set. He authored the text for Elliot Porter's photographic montage, Appalachian Wilderness: The Great Smoky Mountains. The written portions are substantial, as coffee table books go. Abbey devoted a part of the text to William Bartram and his book, frequently referred to as Bartram's Travels (1791). The publisher included some of Bartram's original line drawings as illustrations.
Dr. Hal DeSelm (1926-2011) was a plant ecologist who recorded plants present at over 3,000 sites in the state. His papers are preserved at the University of Tennessee, and an article about him appeared online in The Hellbender Press.
Wilma Dykeman (1920 – 2006) authored The French Broad for the American Rivers book series. A chapter titled "Who Killed the French Broad" brought environmental issues to public attention years before Rachel Carson. An article about Dykeman appears in the Tennessee Encyclopedia, and an excerpt from another book appears in the volume Writing Appalachia.
Albert F. Ganier (1883 – 1973) was trained as an engineer, but birdwatching was his hobby. He published several articles in scientific journals. His books included A Distribution List of the Birds of Tennessee, Water Birds of Reelfoot Lake, and The Wildlife met by Tennessee's First Settlers. The Biodiversity Heritage Library includes archived papers.
Dr. Augustin Gattinger (1825-1902) was a Physician and Botanist who immigrated from Germany. He served as the company physician at the copper mines in Copper Hill, Tennessee. He published a guide to medicinal plants of Tennessee and an annotated checklist of Tennessee Plants. The second volume includes "Philosophy of Botany," a review of scientific botany beginning with Aristotle. A brief biography of Gattinger appears on the website of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Dr. Thomas Hemmerly (1932 – 2006) was a Botany professor at MTSU. He authored several wildflower guides, including Appalachian Wildflowers, Ozark Wildflowers, and Wildflowers of the Mid-South. He was one of four contributors to the project Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and Southern Appalachians.
Dennis Horn was the senior author in the collaborative project, Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and Southern Appalachians. His biography appears in the Tennessee Native Plant Society Hall of Fame.
Dr. Brian Miller has researched reptiles and amphibians for 40 years. A list of his technical publications appears on his faculty website. He teaches, conducts research, and supervises graduate students at Middle Tennessee State University. Ray Zimmerman’s interview with him appears in The Hellbender Press.
Mack Prichard (1939 – 2020) began his career with Tennessee State Parks while still in high school. He served as State Archaeologist and later as State Naturalist with the Tennessee Department of Conservation and environment. The Friends of South Cumberland State Park have developed a Mack Prichard Legacy Project with the online publication of Mack’s writing, video appearances, and photographs.
Dr. Else Quarterman (1910 – 2014) was a plant ecologist who mentored doctoral students at Vanderbilt University. She is credited with rediscovering the Tennessee Coneflower, which was thought to be extinct, and was involved in preserving the fragile Cedar Glades of central Tennessee. She was published in academic journals. A biography appears in the Tennessee Native Plant Society Hall of Fame.
Scott Somershoe is an ornithologist with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency who authored Birds of Tennessee: A New Annotated Checklist. His book includes information on the status, distribution, and abundance of 415 species reported in the state. Check out his book on Goodreads.
Dr. Eugene B. Wofford served as Herbarium Director and Curator at the University of Tennessee. He published numerous papers and guides to plant identification. He is included in the Tennessee Native Plant Society Hall of Fame.