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Friends of the Earth
Cover of Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth
A History of American Environmentalism with 21 Activities
Borrow Borrow

The history of American environmentalism is the history of men and women who dedicated their lives to protecting the nation's natural heritage. Almost singlehandedly, John James Audubon introduced the study of birds in North America. John Muir pushed a president and a nation into setting aside vast preserves, including Yosemite, Sequoia, Mt. Rainier, and the Grand Canyon. Marjory Stoneman Douglas did the same for the Florida Everglades, as did Mardy Murie with the Grand Tetons and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Cordelia Stanwood, and later Roger Peterson, revolutionized and popularized birdwatching. Rachel Carson opened the world's eyes to the dangers of pesticides, and Julia "Butterfly" Hill saved a 1,000-year-old redwood while bringing to light the devastation of our old growth forests. Together, these environmentalists' inspiring life stories tell the story of American environmentalism, from its inception to the present day.

In Friends of Our Earth readers will also learn how to put their concerns into action. Author Pat McCarthy gives step-by-step instructions on how to build a birdfeeder, conduct a water quality survey, start a compost pile, study the Greenhouse Effect, make plaster casts of animals tracks, create their own recycled paper, test for acid rain, and more. It includes a time line of historic milestones, popular outdoor parks and sites to visit or explore online, and Web resources for further study.

The history of American environmentalism is the history of men and women who dedicated their lives to protecting the nation's natural heritage. Almost singlehandedly, John James Audubon introduced the study of birds in North America. John Muir pushed a president and a nation into setting aside vast preserves, including Yosemite, Sequoia, Mt. Rainier, and the Grand Canyon. Marjory Stoneman Douglas did the same for the Florida Everglades, as did Mardy Murie with the Grand Tetons and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Cordelia Stanwood, and later Roger Peterson, revolutionized and popularized birdwatching. Rachel Carson opened the world's eyes to the dangers of pesticides, and Julia "Butterfly" Hill saved a 1,000-year-old redwood while bringing to light the devastation of our old growth forests. Together, these environmentalists' inspiring life stories tell the story of American environmentalism, from its inception to the present day.

In Friends of Our Earth readers will also learn how to put their concerns into action. Author Pat McCarthy gives step-by-step instructions on how to build a birdfeeder, conduct a water quality survey, start a compost pile, study the Greenhouse Effect, make plaster casts of animals tracks, create their own recycled paper, test for acid rain, and more. It includes a time line of historic milestones, popular outdoor parks and sites to visit or explore online, and Web resources for further study.
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  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    930
  • Interest Level:
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 6

Recommended for you

About the Author-
  • Pat McCarthy is the author of Heading West and 10 children's titles and has written for Cricket, Children's Digest, and other publications.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2013
    Brief biographies of early conservationists and environmentalists provide a look at the development of the movement. Readers meet John James Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Roger Tory Peterson and Rachel Carson, as well as less familiar names: Cordelia Stanwood, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Margaret "Mardy" Murie. Each featurette is about six to eight pages long, offering enough detail to provide a flavor of the people's lives and explain their significance to the movement. Each chapter includes one or more activities (mostly simple science experiments) themed to match the biography--not always successfully. The activity for the Muir chapter is to bake oatmeal scones, which seems strange when compared to others: bird identification, making a plaster cast of an animal footprint or a bird feeder, etc. The last section describes future challenges. The text is mostly written in short sentences that don't jibe with the more complex content and may sometimes perplex readers: "For years, we've heard the cry, 'Save the rainforest!' This is another side of deforestation." This effort offers an odd mix of complexity and oversimplification: "The rate of global warming can be slowed if people will take a few simple steps"--carpooling, using public transit, eschewing motorized transportation and limiting trips. More useful for the biographies than the environmental information. An only-serviceable collective biography for those interested in the history of the movement. (Collective biography. 10-13)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2013

    Gr 4-8-McCarthy profiles 10 individuals, all born prior to 1910. The chapters are arranged chronologically, highlighting individuals such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, Cordelia Stanwood, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Margaret Murie, and Rachel Carson. In addition to biographical information, each chapter features corresponding hands-on activities. For example, the section devoted to John James Audubon provides directions for building a nest and constructing a birdhouse. Black-and-white photographs provide interesting visuals that illustrate each individual's story. The writing is lively and clear, and the text is appropriate for both research and pleasure reading. Budding environmentalists will appreciate these accessible and inspiring biographies.-Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    February 15, 2013
    Grades 4-7 Though far short of a comprehensive history of American environmentalism, these 10 profiles of American naturalists and environmental activists do offer a broad overview of the movement's past highlights, if not so much of its present state. Supplemented by photos, sidebars, resource lists, and a quick closing survey of current environmental issues, McCarthy presents an unusually mixed bag. Along with such usual suspects as Thoreau, Muir, and Carson, there are profiles of lesser-known figures like Everglades champion Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Gifford Pinchot, our country's first professionally trained forester. Typical of this publisher's series, the 21 interspersed activities range widely in quality, but along with an irrelevant recipe for scones (because, you know, John Muir was born in Scotland) and a soda-bottle bird feeder that would leave much of its contents tantalizingly out of reach, there are directions for an excellent one-square-yard biocensus among a few others that may reward the effort. Consider this as supplementary support for eco-assignments.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2013, American Library Association.)

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    Chicago Review Press
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A History of American Environmentalism with 21 Activities
Pat McCarthy
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