Beacon Press: Nature's Second Chance
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Nature's Second Chance

Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm

Author: Steven I. Apfelbaum   Foreword by: Nina Leopold Bradley

From an internationally recognized restoration ecologist, the twenty-first-century sequel to the best-selling classic A Sand County Almanac

Renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it does otherwise.” Years after Leopold’s passing, his “land ethic” is a centerpiece for the modern conservation and ecological restoration movements in America, and around the world.

There are few who have taken to heart Leopold’s vision more than restoration ecologist Steven Apfelbaum, who, over thirty years, transformed his eighty-acre Stone Prairie Farm in Wisconsin into a biologically diverse ecosystem of prairie, wetland, spring brook, and forest. In Nature’s Second Chance, the author captures the intimate relationship he has created with the land and shows how the restored farm is serving as a model for the human community around him. Opening with his very first walk on the farm, this deeply personal account relates how Apfelbaum and his family worked to restore acres of native wildflowers and wildlife on land he found depleted after years of corn farming. The traditional agricultural community around him was at first deeply suspicious, he explains, but most of them came around to Leopold’s beliefs, as lived by the author, after seeing the benefits of restoration at Stone Prairie Farm.

Nature’s Second Chance offers unique insights into the biological world, the processes of ecological recovery, and how humans might play a starring role in healing a planet by implementing Leopold’s land ethic, one farm, lot, or brownfield at a time.
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“In A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold struggled to define a ‘land ethic.’ In Nature’s Second Chance, Steven Apfelbaum documents the struggle to put it into practice, and explores the application and implications of becoming part of the land community. . . . With the keen eye of a naturalist and the pragmatic perspective of a practitioner, Apfelbaum has picked up where Leopold left off, and carries the reader to the next level of land ethics.” —Dr. Alan Haney, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, co-editor of Ecosystem Management

“Steeped in the tradition of Leopold’s land ethic, this volume chronicles the maturation of a young environmental idealist into a successful ecological entrepreneur. While Leopold pleaded that we disassociate economic gain from our valuation of natural lands, this volume expands the land ethic to embrace the economic drivers that, if properly harnessed, can help restore our planet. This account of personal transformation confirms that we, the greater restoration community, can and must engage the greater economy while remaining true to our core ecological values. This is the rebirth of nature for which the author labors.” —John A. Shuey, Director of Conservation Science, Indiana Office of the Nature Conservancy

“In his account, both personal and visionary, of the restoration of his eighty-acre farm, Steven Apfelbaum makes a passionate plea for the respect for and conservation of our ecosystems. Listen to him. In a time when twelve-thousand-year-old landscapes can be bulldozed in a matter of hours, it is essential to take his words to heart.” —Jane Brox, author of Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm

“Living with the land, and not just simply on it, has never been more imperative-and Steven Apfelbaum is the perfect guide to that new symbiosis. Nature’s Second Chance is part memoir, part road map for a more sustainable future, drawn from Apfelbaum’s three decades of hard-won experience restoring the ecological links on his Wisconsin farm.” —Scott Weidensaul, author of Of a Feather and Return to Wild America

“Apfelbaum and his partner Susan proceed, after measurable success on their farm, to help their neighbors, then the people in their local watershed, and finally the community in which they live. Perhaps I rejoice for my father who wrote, ‘A land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.’“
—Nina Leopold Bradley, daughter of Aldo Leopold, from the foreword

“Seeds planted by Aldo Leopold found fertile soil in the mind of Steve Apfelbaun. He left the city and bought a small abandoned farm in the country. While restoring native communities of plants and animals on his land, he developed a vision that eventually became a successful business, Applied Ecological Services Inc., dedicated to restoration of native communities. Like Leopold, Steve’s absorbing and delightful story will undoubtedly inspire future generations to heal the land.” —Dr. George Archibald, Co-founder, International Crane Foundation


Review: Booklist - March 1, 2009
"Apfelbaum's book is as rich in farming adventure, environmental ideas, and profound insights as a restored prairie is rich in life and beauty."
Review: Publishers Weekly - October 20, 2008
"This page-turner for nature lovers will captivate readers . . . who will appreciate its mingling of environmental theory, policy prescription and vivid personal anecdote."
  • Read an article on Nature's Second Chance in the Home-Currents section of the New York Times
  • Nature's Second Chance was named of the Top Ten Books on the Environment by Booklist Online
  • Nature's Second Chance selected as a "Vendor's Pick" in the Columbus Dispatch

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Nature's Second Chance

ISBN: 978-080708582-0
Publication Date: 2/1/2009
Pages: 256
Size: x Inches (US)
Price:  $25.95
Format: Cloth
Availability: In stock.
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