Gila Monsters, Geysers, and Grizzly Bears in America’s Own Backyard [Scientists in the Field]
by Mary Kay Carson; photos by Tom Uhlman
Intermediate, Middle School Houghton 75 pp.
5/14 978-0-547-79268-2 $18.99
Although most of us think about our national parks in terms of their stunning natural vistas and opportunities for outdoor adventures, they also host numerous scientific research projects. Carson takes readers to three of the parks — Yellowstone, Saguaro, and Great Smoky Mountains — and introduces us to a collection of scientists, including university researchers, park rangers, volunteers, and even high-school students. Their wide-ranging investigations of the geology, ecology, and biology of each region include mapping the range and diet of grizzly bears, counting and measuring cacti, documenting changes in hydrothermal activity, and understanding the evolution of salamanders through differences in their DNA. The focus is on not just the science itself but also the methods of investigation, from scientific tools to the hiking gear needed to access remote sections of each park. Facts about the national parks and supporting scientific information are interspersed throughout the book, along with instructive photographs of the parks, the researchers, and the plants, animals, and formations that they study. Glossary, selected bibliography, sources, and index appended.
From the July/August 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.