Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly

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Every autumn, the monarch butterflies east of the Rockies migrate from as far north as Canada to Mexico. Memory is not their guide — no one butterfly makes the round trip — but each year somehow find their way to the same fifty acres of forest on the high slopes of Mexico’s Neovolcanic Mountains, and then make the return trip in the spring.

In Four Wings and a Prayer, Sue Halpern sets off on an adventure to delve into the secrets behind this extraordinary phenomenon. She visits scientists and butterfly lovers across the country, offering a keenly observed portrait of the monarchs’ migration and of the people for whom they have become a glorious obsession. Combining science, memoir, and travel writing, Four Wings and a Prayer is an absorbing travelogue and a fascinating meditation on a profound mystery of the natural world.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the author

Sue Halpern is the author of Migrations to Solitude. Her work has apeared in Granta, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Audubon, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, and Orion, among other publications. She lives with her husband and daughter in a small town in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Apr 13, 2011
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780307787200
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Butterflies & Moths
Nature / Ecosystems & Habitats / Mountains
Nature / Plants / Flowers
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Wild plants are not only beautiful, but they can also be an affordable and sustainable way to add flavor and nutrition to your diet. Edible Wild Plants for Beginners provides you with the essential information and guidance to begin foraging for edible wild plants and including them in your diet. Edible Wild Plants for Beginners provides profiles of common edible wild plants and includes information on dangerous look-alikes, the best time to harvest, where to find each type of wild plant, and how to cultivate your own garden. From natural remedies to delectable dishes and exotic cocktails, Edible Wild Plants for Beginners provides more than 95 ways for you to use these newfound ingredients.

Edible Wild Plants for Beginners will help you explore the world of edible wild plants and teach you how to use them in your home and kitchen, with:

• More than 95 easy-to-follow edible wild plants recipes and remedies, including Amaranth Vegetable Curry, Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes, Chamomile Cookies, and a Purslane Martini
• Tips for foraging, harvesting, and cultivating edible wild plants
• Techniques for serving, preserving, and cooking with edible wild plants
• 31 edible wild plant profiles, including descriptions, distinguishing features, preparation and collection tips, and common uses
• 10 simple steps to making tinctures
• A guide to identifying edible wild plants and avoiding common poisonous plants

With Edible Wild Plants for Beginners, you'll be able to start living sustainably, saving money, and adding variety to your diet the way nature intended.
Whether you’re installing a new garden bed or trying to attract orioles for the first time, it helps to start with the right information. And here it is! In this book, experts and readers from North America's #1 Bird and Garden Magazine, Birds & Blooms, give their tried-and-true advice.

Attracting birds and butterflies has never been simpler—plus you’ll get the latest tips and advice for supporting the dwindling bee population, which experts say is essential for the future of gardening. Inside this book, you’ll find irresistible plants for birds, butterflies, and bees, creative garden designs for year-round beauty, and our top plant lists to take the guesswork out of gardening.

Birds, butterflies and bees rely on plants, trees and shrubs to survive and thrive. That’s why doing your part for the environment by establishing critter-friendly areas in your own backyard is so crucial.

This book, brought to you by the editors of Birds & Blooms magazine, can serve as your guide to attracting new visitors to your landscape. Birds & Blooms has helped lead the trend we like to call “gardening with a purpose” for over 20 years. We’ve always recognized the importance of going beyond just the beauty of a garden, and purposefully choosing flowers, trees and shrubs specifically for their environmental benefits.
Birds count on healthy trees and plants as natural food sources and nesting sites. Butterflies need nectar-rich blooms for nourishment. Very specific host plants are key to caterpillar survival. And as bee populations decline, flowers that provide nectar and pollen are more essential than ever. Each of these creatures requires natural shelter as well, which trees and shrubs readily provide.
All of the 250+ featured plants are not only gorgeous and colorful, but they offer a lot of environmental benefits, too. We made sure to include amazing photos of every plant we’re recommending, so you’ll be able to see what each plant looks like and immediately know if it’s a good fit for your garden.
We even went a step further and put together some handy symbols to help you achieve the wildlife-friendly backyard of your dreams. Look for the symbols next to each plant profile to discover what the plant will attract. (Some plants are a triple whammy and attract birds, butterflies and bees!) For extra guidance, check the light-requirement symbols. You’ll be able to quickly see if a plant should be grown in shade, part-shade or full sun—vital info you need to know to create a great habitat.
Throughout this book, we’ve highlighted about 70 bird species and 35 butterfly species you might see in your space. Have fun identifying all of the birds, butterflies and bees in your own backyard!

An essential behind-the-scenes foray into the world of cutting-edge memory research that unveils findings about memory loss only now available to general readers.


When Sue Halpern decided to emulate the first modern scientist of memory, Hermann Ebbinghaus, who experimented on himself, she had no idea that after a day of radioactive testing, her brain would become so “hot” that leaving through the front door of the lab would trigger the alarm. This was not the first time while researching Can’t Remember What I Forgot, part of which appeared in The New Yorker, that Halpern had her head examined, nor would it be the last.

Halpern spent years in the company of the neuroscientists, pharmacologists, psychologists, nutritionists, and inventors who are hunting for the genes and molecules, the drugs and foods, the machines, the prosthetics, the behaviors and therapies that will stave off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and keep our minds–and memories–intact. Like many of us who have had a relative or friend succumb to memory loss, who are getting older, who are hearing statistics about our own chances of falling victim to dementia, who worry that each lapse of memory portends disease, Halpern wanted to find out what the experts really knew, what the bench scientists were working on, how close science is to a cure, to treatment, to accurate early diagnosis, and, of course, whether the crossword puzzles, sudokus, and ballroom dancing we’ve been told to take up can really keep us lucid or if they’re just something to do before the inevitable overtakes us.

Beautifully written, sharply observed, and deeply informed, Can’t Remember What I Forgot is a book full of vital information–and a solid dose of hope.


From the Hardcover edition.
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