The Monuments We Never Built

Charlottesville reminds us that a full reckoning with our landscapes of commemoration requires we ask not only what stories they tell, but also what stories they don’t.

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Seven Ways of Looking at an Eclipse

We know the effects total solar eclipses have on birds, squirrels, and spiders. But what do they do to people?

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An acorn propped up by its root, which stills into a green moss-covered slope.

The Wild Bunch: A Conversation with Curt Meine and Gavin Van Horn

An important new essay collection avoids the old arguments about wilderness and instead offers 26 meditations on living well in our places.

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The (Built) Environmental Revolution: A Conversation with Sarah Williams Goldhagen

We know nature is good for our brains. Can buildings be, too? A preeminent architectural critic calls for a radical shift in how we design the places where we live, work, and play.

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Seeds as Time Capsules

When Courtney Fullilove looks inside a seed, she sees Mennonite farmers, Comanche agriculture, and Echinacea patents. Her new book, “The Profit of the Earth,” shows that the genes of a seed can narrate the history of American empire.

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A parakeet named Punky perched on piano keys. A modified version of a photo by Amyra Moon, March 2011.

Can a Piano Sing a Birdsong?

The French composer Olivier Messaien attempted to reproduce the calls of 80 European birds in a three-hour piece for solo piano. Did he succeed?

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The view of prairie grasses out the door of a darkened bunker at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Photo by Sean Thoel, 2017.

From TNT to Tallgrass: Prairie Restoration at a Munitions Plant Turned National Grassland

It was the world’s largest munitions plant. Now it’s a rich grassland teeming with wildflowers, hikers, and even a bison herd. Illinois’s Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie offers an environmental success story for our time.

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A haenyeo, floating in the water, holds up her catch. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Bittersweet Catch: Korea’s Diving Women and the Pitfalls of Cultural Preservation

While attending a school set up to train the next generation of haenyeo divers, one woman grapples with the historical and ongoing complexities of maintaining the traditional practice.

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President Lyndon Johnson (left) and Vice President Spiro Agnew (right) watch the Apollo 11 Liftoff at Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969. Photo by NASA/Apollo 11.

NASA and the Explosive 1960s: A Conversation with Neil Maher

The author of the new book “Apollo in the Age of Aquarius” shows how NASA shaped, and was shaped by, 1960s environmentalism, feminism, conservatism, counterculture, antiwar protests, and the black freedom struggle.

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Knowing Prairies: An Essay in Comic Form

What can the world’s first restored prairie tell us about living with the land? The University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum inspires one artist to reflect on ecological restoration and what we call nature.

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