Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry

Edited by Derek Sheffield, CMarie Fuhrman, and Elizabeth Bradfield, published by Mountaineer Books, officially releases on March 1, 2023, available for preorder

This piece was originally published in Cascadia Spoke, a community publication dedicated to raising awareness of the Cascadia movement and bioregionalism.

In the Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry, local experts, poets, and artists have created the first literary field guide for the Cascadia bioregion, an area defined by the watersheds of the Fraser, Columbia, and Snake rivers, and that stretches from Mt. St. Alias in the north to Cape Mendocino in the south, and as far as Yellowstone in the East.

Instead of using Western scientific taxonomy to separate species by type or kind (insects, birds, mammals, etc.), this guide groups species into communities, such as Salish Sea, Pine Forest, and Montane. Each community contains seven to eleven species, or beings, who are interrelated and rely on one another. In this way, and others, the guide blends Indigenous ways of knowing with Western ones, even as it gives place a voice. It is designed to focus not on the divisions, but the many cohesions that make up our bioregion.

Have you ever been so filled up with the wonder of a place that it wants to spill out as a song? Well, here is the songbook….This is a guide to relationship, a gift in reciprocity for the gifts of the land.

Robin Wall Kimmerer

Cascadia stretches from Southeast Alaska to Northern California and from the Pacific Ocean to the Continental Divide. Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry blends art and science to celebrate this diverse yet interconnected region through natural and cultural histories, poetry, and illustrations. Organized into 13 bioregions, the guide includes entries for everything from crytobiotic soil and the western thatching ant to the giant Pacific octopus and Sitka spruce, as well as the common raven, hoary marmot, Idaho giant salamander, snowberry, and 120 more!

Both well-established and new writers are included, representing a diverse spectrum of voices, with poems that range from comic to serious, colloquial to scientific, urban to off-the-grid, narrative to postmodern. In the same way, the artists span styles and mediums, using classic natural history drawing, form line design, graffiti, sketch, and more. All writers and artists have deep ties to the Cascadia bioregion.

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