Friday, July 13, 2012
"Island of Biodiversity" is the result of this spring's painting and exploring around the red shale hill of North Russell, east of Ottawa, and is coauthored by Candice Vetter who lives there and has been studying the place and loving it more and more for 20 years.
We call the book "Island of Biodiversity" because
the red shale hill, although hardly perceptible as a hill in the usual sense, is an outcropping of Queenston Shale in a flat landscape of Leda clay laid down by the Champlain Sea long ago. What makes it seem even more of an island is its ecology. Traditional farming practices have allowed trees to grow along fencerows, creeks, and ditches, corridors for biodiversity which connect with woodlots, ponds, and swamps. Chorus Frogs find refuge in several places on the red shale hill, though they've disappeared from the whole landscape of Ontario east of Ottawa.
Candice's chapters on geology, ecology, forests, water, the history of settlement, etc. are interleaved with my paintings and journals which we have drawn from this blog, and the whole book is further enriched and informed by Fred's experience with particulars and his deep understanding of how everything fits together.
I designed the interior of the book and my sister Karen Rathbun designed the cover as well as doing a heroic job of copy editing in the face of a tight publication deadline.
Robert Bateman wrote the introduction. All in all, we're pretty proud of this book, the second in our "Landscape Art & Science" series. It can be purchased at http://www.lulu.com/content/12771944 - hurry so you'll get your discount!