Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn (Hardcover)

A Year on the Lawn

By Hannah Holmes

Bloomsbury USA, 9781582344799, 240pp.

Publication Date: February 10, 2005



Who knew that an investigation into that patch of grass in our backyards could be so fruitful-and so funny?

More than 550 square miles of new lawns unfold each year in the U.S. alone. Although new research shows that these lawns aren't nearly as "unnatural" as ecologists once thought, no one has offered an accessible exploration of this novel habitat. Until now...

Equipped with a lawn chair and her infectious curiosity, science writer Hannah Holmes spends a year on her lawn hoping to discover exactly what's going on out there. Under her examination, the lawn teems with life, populated by a bewilderment of birds, a mess of mammals, and a range of plants that record the history of this little piece of ground. As the seasons progress, she guides us through this bustling community, inviting over biologists, ecologists, botanists, entomologists, and energy experts to further unveil the complexities of life in the 'burbs. Through this investigation, we encounter life-and-death dramas and mysteries that would make a rainforest blush-everything from the behavior of suburban crows and raccoons, to the way plants wage war, to the puzzle of baby pigeons (where are they?).

Funny, smart, and refreshing, Suburban Safari introduces us to a world so extraordinary it's hard to believe it's been right in front of us all along.

About the Author

Hannah Holmes is the author of The Secret Life of Dust. Her science and travel writing has appeared in publications including the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Sierra, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She lives in South Portland, Maine.

Praise For Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn

"The controversy over how to deal with this growing health threat will keep this book passing from hand to hand."

"An eye-opening plunge into a fascinating, nearly invisible world."

"Witty, imaginative, and powerful discourse…Holmes is a Rachel Carson for 21st-century suburbia. A"

"Suburban Safari proves once and for all that there is life in the suburbs and that it's worth thinking hard about how to handle it."

-Robert Sullivan

"Holmes' backyard assumes strange, oversize proportions in the course of this fascinating book."

"Captivating…Who needs another TV show when there's all this drama in the back yard?"

"The writing is punchy and chock-full of strange and wonderful facts…Holmes covers an incredible amount of factual ground."

"Armed with the vast knowledge gleaned from science writer Hannah Holmes' Suburban Safari, you can go on the offensive with yard man…Informative."

"Holmes reveals the intriguing, unnoticed dramas that unfold daily on suburban lawns…a fascinating journey."

"A very important book--a graceful and forceful reminder that the natural world is everywhere all around us."

-Bill McKibben, author of Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age and The End

"Suburban Safari is full of absorbing drama, alarming data, and adorable critters…witty and wise."

-Sy Montgomery, author of Seasons of the Wild

"One of the most unusual, entertaining, effortlessly educational homages to nature since Euell Gibbons ate a pine tree."

-Mary Roach, author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers