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Force of Nature

George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement

Arthur Melville Pearson, Peter R. Crane (Foreword by)


List Price: 17.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (4/18/2017)


Winner of the Illinois State Historical Society Outstanding Achievement Award

Efforts to preserve wild places in the United States began with the allure of scenic grandeur: Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon. But what about the many significant natural sites too small or fragile to qualify as state or federal parks? Force of Nature reveals how George Fell initiated the natural areas movement to save those areas. Fell transformed a loose band of ecologists into The Nature Conservancy, drove the passage of the influential Illinois Nature Preserves Act, and helped spark allied local and national conservation organizations in the United States and beyond.

Praise For Force of Nature: George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement

“The inspiring story of the innovative conservation institutions and legislation instigated by George Fell and his wife, Barbara, highlighted by the Nature Conservancy, arguably the largest environmental organization in the world.”—Stephen Laubach, author of Living a Land Ethic

“George Fell sparred with fellow naturalists and politicians to bring into being organizations that are models for today's worldwide conservation efforts. Pearson documents this extraordinary life with a wide range of sources, including interviews over two decades with both Fell's partners and his doubters.”—James Ballowe, author of A Man of Salt and Tree

“Well researched and informative. . . . This biography serves to remind us of who George Fell was and to help us to understand that we need environmental defenders who possess his qualities.”—EcoLit Books

“A chance to learn about this fascinating visionary, whose tireless efforts made Illinois a more beautiful place.”—Nature in Chicagoland

“An excellent read.”—Mesabi Daily News

“Through Pearson's attention to place, the story of this obscure conservationist figure is told with the conviction that the inextricable force of nature drove all of his endeavors.”—South Side Weekly

University of Wisconsin Press, 9780299312343, 216pp.

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

About the Author

Arthur Melville Pearson is the form program director of the Chicago Program at the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, which helps protect and restore natural lands in the Chicago region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina. His writing has appeared frequently in the magazines Chicago Wilderness and Outdoor Illinois and in the blogs A Midewin Almanac and City Creatures.