Bound To Stay Bound

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Booklist - 05/01/2014 The National Park System is often known as the nation’s own backyard due to the possibilities it provides for leisure, recreation, and scientific study. This entry into the long-running Scientists in the Field series celebrates this by focusing on three specific parks: Yellowstone, Saguaro, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Drawing on real-world issues such as monitoring hydrothermal systems, determining the age of giant cacti, and predicting climate change, Carson chronicles exactly how scientists work in these locations. Citizen scientist volunteers, evolutionary ecologists, park rangers, and geologists are just a few of the types of scientists detailed in the book, representing a wide range of age, experience, and expertise. Much discussion centers on the gear the scientists use and the process of their studies. Photographs of stunning landscapes, natural wonders, and people at work adorn an appealing graphic layout. With a conservationist bent, Carson describes just how accessible these real-life “natural laboratories and living museums” are and how each individual can act with the same spirit of inquiry as the scientist-explorers detailed here. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.

School Library Journal - 05/01/2014 Gr 4–8—This entry in this popular series focuses on the study of selected plants, animals, and geologic formations in three of our most famous national parks, which are akin to "natural laboratories and living museums." It all begins in Yellowstone National Park, where hydrothermal activity and its effects are astutely explained. Next, the history, current status, and study of the famous park grizzly bears are carefully detailed. Exploration and examination of giant saguaro cacti and the elusive Gila monster are the focus in the section on Saguaro National Park, which includes a description of "BioBlitz" through which everyday citizens and students can assist in park research programs through 2016. The Great Smoky Mountains is home to more than 30 species of salamanders, and they, plus the equally fascinating fireflies of the region, are targeted in the final chapters. Pertinent, attention-grabbing, full-color photographs and captions, maps, infrared images, and diagrams accompany the fascinating, informative text in each section. Featured experts provide primary-source information for each topic covered. The introductory map of all national parks is missing two in Colorado, but that is a quibble. Overall, this is a well-written, unique, carefully organized treat for nature lovers and investigators.—Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, CO - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2014 Carson explores three national parks beloved by tourists-Yellowstone, Saguaro, and Great Smoky Mountains-and directs readers’ attention to the science behind the oohs and aahs of their natural wonders. Yellowstone boasts hydrothermal theatrics of gushing geysers and boiling mud pots, and grizzlies that require delicate management to keep them in harmony with visitors and nearby residents. At Saguaro, high school scientists assist in inventorying the famous towering cacti that give the park its name and the venomous gila monsters whose lifestyle continues to puzzle scientists. The Smoky Mountains are home to tiny red-cheeked salamanders, whose DNA is helping to shed light on surviving climate change, and the Photinus carolinus, a synchronously flashing lightning bug. Although each section has its charms, treatment is uneven. The Yellowstone entry suffers from several glitches, from the number of geysers in the park (claimed as about 300 in the fast facts and “thousands” in the main text) to a disconnect between the scientists’ examination of a rise in hydrothermal temperature in a section of the park (a sign of possible volcanic eruption) and the sidebar’s reassuring claim that “none of these signs of a stirring volcano is happening.” The Saguaro coverage is light on procedure, with no real explanation of how the featured high-schoolers are using their measuring sticks, and overall, the background of the scientists, which is generally a highlight of this series, is thin. Photographs will draw plenty of browsers, though, and a well-designed page of fast facts and resources is displayed prominently at the opening of each section; a glossary and source notes are included. Kids anticipating a trip to one of these parks may want to study up now and show off their impressive vocabularies when they arrive. EB - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

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