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      Mary Ellen Hannibal Author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction in Asheville


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      April 6, 2017

      Thursday   7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

      55 Haywood Street
      Asheville, North Carolina 28801

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      Mary Ellen Hannibal Author of Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction

      Care about the mountains, streams, rivers, lakes, trees, and all the creatures that live in them? Want to participate in their preservation and care? Join author Mary Ellen Hannibal to find out how science is stepping away from ivory towers and laboratories back to its interdisciplinary roots, and how you, too, can be a scientist. Join us for this free event with Mary Ellen Hannibal. Her books will be on sale at the store and we hope you will support your local economy by shopping with us. More about the book: In the vein of H Is for Hawk and the work of Rebecca Solnit and Elizabeth Kolbert--a masterful consideration of the profound, urgent necessity to bear witness to life and loss. Here is a wide-ranging adventure in becoming a citizen scientist by an award-winning writer and environmental thought leader. As Mary Ellen Hannibal wades into tide pools, follows hawks, and scours mountains to collect data on threatened species, she discovers the power of a heroic cast of volunteers--and the makings of what may be our last, best hope in slowing an unprecedented mass extinction. Digging deeply, Hannibal traces today's tech-enabled citizen science movement to its roots: the centuries-long tradition of amateur observation by writers and naturalists. Prompted by her novelist father's sudden death, she also examines her own past--and discovers a family legacy of looking closely at the world. With unbending zeal for protecting the planet, she then turns her gaze to the wealth of species left to fight for. Combining original reporting, meticulous research, and memoir in impassioned prose, Citizen Scientist is a literary event, a blueprint for action, and the story of how one woman rescued herself from an odyssey of loss--with a new kind of science. What an extraordinary book! Mary Ellen Hannibal weaves together natural history, cutting-edge technology, and her own adventures into a story that is certain to inspire. Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist Deeply informed and highly readable, this is as much a soul-search as a book about science. Fortunately for us, Mary Ellen Hannibal locates some luminous souls who, by the light of their knowledge and determination, can lead us out of these dark times for life on Earth. Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel The idea that science is something for a caste of high priests to attend to is simply wrong: Science is all around us, and we each can revel in its pleasures and processes. This is a lovely, empowering narrative. Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth Species are going extinct a thousand times faster than they should, our science tells us. But how do we know which, and where, any why, and above all what we can do about this crisis? No expensive technological machine counts biodiversity. Our knowledge comes globally, across decades, and from every land and sea, from the citizen scientist. Thats you and me, our kids, grandkids, and friends, armed with a notebook or perhaps a smartphone, but with those priceless and essential attributes of passion and curiosity. This book tells their story brilliantly. Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University An informative, emotional, and fascinating account of a personal journey to ecological citizen science. Muki Haklay, Professor of Geographical Information Science, Co-Director of the Extreme Citizen Science Group, University College London One of Hannibals themes in this ambitious new book is the double narrative, or the contradiction between what we tell ourselves we are doing every day and what is really going on. She explains that empires have been built on a biotic cleansing of species the loss of which now threatens the very foundation of our lives. Hannibal poses citizen science, or the contribution of amateurs to research, as a platform not only for change, but also as a new way of seeing without the old blinders. Invoking literary, historic, and scientific touchstones, and telling a personal story as well, she provides what citizen scientists John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts called the toto picture. We cant afford to see the Earth any other way. Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University My adventure in becoming a citizen scientist includes wading into tide pools, following hawks, and scouring mountains to collect data on species, to contribute to science, and to deepen my own sense of place. Citizen science has centuries-old roots and multiple meanings. With technological tools like iNaturalist, regular people can make geo-located observations in nature that allow for the same kind of analysis that inspired Charles Darwin. Darwin was a citizen scientist, or amateurhe had no advanced degree and worked for himself. For me the most compelling reason to do citizen science is the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals currently underway. In the book I do a lot of reporting and research on this scourge, but contextualize whats happening within a broad framework. Extreme citizen science often focuses on indigenous traditions for caring for the land, and I learn a great deal from the Amah Mutsun tribal band. I take great inspiration from three literary figures who contributed to citizen scienceJohn Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, and Joseph Campbell. While the heros journey as discerned by Campbell needs updating for dealing with todays global issues, he still provides a model for aggregating individual efforts on behalf of nature to achieve collective impact. Thats the job of the citizen scientist.


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