Review: Saving Tarboo Creek

by Becky
Published: Updated:

Story: Saving Tarboo Creek by Scott Freeman and Susan Leopold Freeman is a collection of stories about the family’s ecological conservation efforts both in the Tarboo Creek watershed in Washington state and across the country. Significant time is also spent sharing the history of conservation and how humans have affected change in the natural world across the globe.

Freshwater mussels have faces that only a mother could love, and they remain in deep trouble. It takes an effective ecological education – and an ethical commitment that borders on the spiritual – to understand that mussels matter, too.

Why: This particular book piqued my interest first with its beautiful cover art, and then further when I saw the authors. Susan Leopold Freeman is the daughter of Carl Leopold and the granddaughter of Aldo Leopold. These are names I am very familiar with having grown up in Wisconsin. I admit to being very quiet and inactive in the arena of conservation (and anything else that one might deem “political”).  Selfishly however, as someone who enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities, it is important to me that we do our best to preserve the “natural” spaces in our country and around the world. I would also like to think that my children and their children might have the same opportunities to enjoy land that hasn’t been spoiled by human activity. This title felt like a way to connect to these feelings in a positive way.

An ecosystem is a tapestry; climate change pulls at the threads.

Opinion: Personally, I enjoyed this book on a number of levels. I found it entertaining at times and very educational at others. There were waves of nostalgia and moments of fear. The illustrations have a rawness to them that made me feel like I’d stumbled on someone’s journal. The writing was accessible, and I didn’t feel as if the authors were “dumbing things down” for me or using too much scientific jargon. The variety of topics also kept me engaged, even though I may have felt a slight overdose of salmon! As a whole it left me feeling encouraged about our natural world, even though there is obviously much work to be done.

…reforestation efforts like ours seem like throwing pebbles into the ocean. But when thousands of people are throwing pebbles in thousands of places, at the same time, things change. The rings from the splashes are expanding, reclaiming lost landscapes. Planting a tree is a way to apply hope.

Recommendation: If you consider yourself a lover of the outdoors, someone who appreciates the wonder of unspoiled terrain, or even just someone who wants to understand how conservation works, I strongly encourage you to read this book. This is not a book that will appeal to the masses, and probably isn’t the first book I would choose for a vacation. (Even though my vacations typically include a number of hikes!) However, I think it has acted as a gateway drug book for me into the world of natural nonfiction, and I believe it could do that for others as well. There is enough personal material to make it readable, but enough factual information to make it educational. I’m excited to find more books like it!

Every generation has to find its own way of fighting our materialistic nature and reminding its children of the values that matter and endure. We are born to take, but we learn to give.

Journaling Prompts: (If you haven’t read any of my other reviews, I enjoy putting together a few questions about the book for those that have already read, or choose to read the book after viewing this post!)

  1. How did you feel after reading this book?
  2. Which chapter stood out to you? Why?
  3. What can you do as an action item to improve your natural life?
  4. Will you read more about these issues?

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