Knowing Yellowstone by Jerry Johnson

51ipMoKvfLLNonfiction — print. Taylor Trade Publishing, 2010. 184 pgs. Library copy.

Subtitled “Science in America’s First National Park”, Johnson’s book introduces readers to ten different studies – ranging in topics from the home ownership around the park to brucellosis in cattle, bison, and elk to policy marketing for Yellowstone – and invents them to consider how  science shapes our understanding of and commitment to preserving Yellowstone. Each chapter detailing a study is written by the primary researcher with most researchers hailing from Montana State University.

This book reaffirmed my own personal beliefs about management of the park: Wyoming needs to stop feeding the elk, people need to stop building theirs home so they border the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and the three states home to Yellowstone should embrace the reintroduction of the wolf. Alas, no new knowledge here.

The most interesting aspect of this book for me was the varied uses of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which is the focus of my geography major. Just about every researcher used the software to map the locations of homes or track the movements of large mammals or, even, map the bottom of Yellowstone Lake. Very interesting, indeed.

The Honors Project:

I read this book for The Honors Project, my own personal challenge to read more books about economics, food, and/or geography in preparation for writing my honors thesis. My goal for this project is to learn as much as I can about these topics so I can formulate better questions and, in turn, produce a better honors thesis. You can find out more information by checking out my introductory post, project post, or spreadsheet of titles.

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