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In Search of a Wild America

If true wilderness still exists, should it really be so hard for most of us to find it?

Scott Weidensaul and I have never crossed paths, although our travels have taken us to many of the same places and our separate journeys have had similar purposes, both inspired by books written more than half a century ago. Set in motion by the late nature writer Edwin Way Teale’s 1950 journey North With the Spring, I followed the spring season across North America from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic. For his new book Weidensaul revisited the Wild America written about in 1953 by two of the last century’s most astute birders and naturalists, the late Roger Tory Peterson and James Maxwell McConnell Fisher. In 1934, Peterson had combined his skills as an ornithologist and wildlife artist to create his first field guide to the birds, beginning a franchise that would make birding and nature appreciation accessible to the novice out in the field. His three-month journey with Fisher quickly became a classic of natural history.

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