Cover image for Smithsonian book of national wildlife refuges
Smithsonian book of national wildlife refuges
Dolin, Eric Jay.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington : Smithsonian Institution Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 258 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL84.2 .D65 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order


Author Notes

Eric Jay Dolin has written four books. He lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts
John and Karen Hollingsworth worked as a team photographing the refuges. Their work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including National Geographic and Field and Stream

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When Theodore Roosevelt declared Florida's Pelican Island a "preserve and breeding ground for native birds" in 1903, he officially launched the National Wildlife Refuge system. After decades of exploitation, the wildlife of the U.S. was in desperate straits, with market hunters slaying hundreds of ducks per night, women wearing dead birds as hat ornamentation, and the near-extinction of the once numberless bison. Dolin explores America's National Wildlife Refuges and the movement to protect the nation's wildlife in this very readable history of a globally unique network of federal lands. The absorbing saga of the growth of the refuge system makes for fascinating reading, as politics often scuffled with biology, and inconsistencies in the laws between states, and between states and the federal government, had to be ironed out. The system now contains more than 530 refuges comprising 95 million acres of federally protected land, conserving hundreds of wildlife species and visited by millions of people every year. Illustrated with evocative color photographs and period illustrations. --Nancy Bent

Publisher's Weekly Review

The clearly written text detailing the history of National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) makes a convincing argument for their continuance and expansion. Just as compelling are the Hollingsworths' photos, taken in habitats where plants, animals and insects are protected by law. Photos of red fox pups (Agassiz, Minn.), hatching tundra swans (Yukon Delta, Alaska), an endangered Florida panther, and the Beaver Dam (Fish Springs, Utah) are testaments to the importance of the conservation movement. The voices of nature preservationists of the 19th century, such as John Muir, who founded the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, whose members fought vigorously against the wanton slaughter of birds in order to decorate women's hats, were heard by President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1903 Roosevelt, who had a deep love of nature and wildlife, launched the NWR system by designating Florida's Pelican Island as a preserve for native birds. Dolin (The Duck Stamp Story) spells out the growth of federal refuges, which have survived despite a lack of funding and shifting political fortunes. Ronald Reagan, for example, tried to expand commercial use of refuges, including timber operations and drilling for oil in Alaska. Jimmy Carter, however, was a friend to conservationists and supported the whooping crane project. In 1997, President Clinton signed the National Wildlife Refuge Improvement Act, which set forth the mission of the system to put the wildlife and ecosystems of the refuges before any other considerations. Color and b&w photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Celebrating the centennial of the National Wildlife Refuge System, the network of federal lands dedicated to wildlife conservation, this guide captures not only the history but also the spirit, struggles, and evolution of the system. Key events, critical legislation, and important individuals are chronicled, with an attention to detail that engages the reader. Liberally illustrated with 200 color photographs (seen by this reviewer only in a black-and-white galley), the text includes an absorbing prehistory of the system and what led to its creation in 1903, changes and challenges, struggles to find direction, and recent critical legislation (e.g., the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997); also included are alluring profiles of eight representative yet varied refuges (e.g., the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, Alaska's ANWR preserve). Refuges are a critical part of wildlife conservation, and this outstanding book undoubtedly will serve the purpose of educating the public and garnering more support from them. Highly and enthusiastically recommended for all public libraries and all environmental collections.-Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
1 A National Treasurep. 1
2 From Abundance to Scarcityp. 7
3 Preservation, Conservation, and the Call to Armsp. 23
4 The Birth of the Refuge Systemp. 39
5 Theodore Roosevelt--A Force of and for Naturep. 51
6 Growth by Fits and Startsp. 65
7 Legal Protection for the Birdsp. 73
8 Ducks and the Dust Bowlp. 83
9 The Glory Yearsp. 95
10 Conflict, Controversy, and Compromisep. 117
11 New Roles and Responsibiltiesp. 131
12 Searching for Directionp. 159
13 Growing and Losing Groundp. 167
14 Turning the Refuge System Aroundp. 185
15 Profiles in Beautyp. 213
Bosque Del Apachep. 213
Charles M. Russellp. 216
Chincoteaguep. 222
Don Edwards San Francisco Bayp. 226
J. N. "Ding" Darlingp. 230
Neal Smithp. 234
Okefenokeep. 239
Petit Mananp. 242
16 Conclusionp. 249
Bibliographyp. 251
Indexp. 256