Dr. Lauren E. Oakes, a conservation scientist, takes readers on her scientific and emotional and journey to Alaska to study the yellow cedar. Her research was a blend of ecology and social science as she studied the effects of climate change on both the plants in the forest community after the yellow-cedar trees died, and how the Alaskans were adapting to the changes in their local environment. Following along with her formal studies, the book also chronicles her personal search for joyful living in a time of environmental crisis.

As the narrative unfolds we meet the author’s research team, hike through the forests of Alaska, and learn about the strong ties the Alaskans have to their environment. Interviews with many different kinds of experts add more substance to the story while Oakes’ personal reflections give it depth. The result is a pleasing balance between science and emotion which ends on a very optimistic note.

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By Karen