Posted November 17, 2011
The works of John Muir were honored along with the winners of the 2011 National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) on Nov. 17. The annual awards program recognizes the best in outdoor writing and publishing – past and present.
"John Muir is a giant in the outdoor world," said Ron Watters chairman of the award program. "He died in 1914, but the legacy he left us with is incalculable. Muir's writings and work helped save such American treasures as Yosemite National Park."
Muir published six books during his lifetime. Additional books and collections of his writings have been published since then.
This year's Classic Award went to a new edition of "My Summer in the Sierra," which is perhaps Muir's best-loved book. Illustrated with photographs by Scot Miller, and including reproductions of Muir's original journal and sketches, the new edition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the book’s first publication.
"Muir is truly one of the great wilderness figures of all time," said Watters, "And we are delighted to take this opportunity to recognize his body of work and his contributions to America's outdoor heritage."
In addition to Muir's work, 11 other books were honored in this year's National Outdoor Book Awards. The awards program is sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.
Among the winners is "Salvaging the Real Florida" by Bill Belleville. It won the Natural History category. "Belleville's collection of essays fits in quite nicely with John Muir's work," said Watters. "In fact, in one essay he writes about Muir's 1867 visit to Florida."
"Belleville is a talented writer and a sheer pleasure to read," continued Watters. "He takes the reader throughout Florida on hikes, paddles and dives—and through lagoons, forests, and swamps. Intermixed with his stories are fresh insights and strong reasons why the remaining wild lands of Florida need to stay that way."
The winner of the Outdoor Literature Category is "Fire Season" by Philip Connors. In the book, Connors who mans a fire lookout in New Mexico reflects on the nature of wilderness, the place and role of fire, and simple pleasures of his solitary work.
"Connors finds himself among some pretty heavy company," said Watters, noting that Edward Abbey, Jack Kerouac, Norman Maclean, and Gary Snyder all wrote about their experiences on fire lookouts. "This is Connors first work," he said, "but if these literary forbearers could somehow manage to unite, it's not hard to imagine them inviting him over and raising a toast to 'Fire Season.'"
A beautifully illustrated book about trees was the winner of the Nature and Environment Category. In "Seeing Trees," author Nancy Ross Hugo and photographer Robert Llewellyn explore the tree world from a close-up and revealing perspective.
The winner of the Nature Guidebook category is "Naturally Curious" by Mary Holland, a new nature guide to New England. What makes this abundantly illustrated guide stand out is the way it's organized. Starting in March, with the first signs of spring, it covers the changes in the natural world, on a month-to-month basis.
"The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs" won the Children’s Category. This wonderfully illustrated nature guidebook is designed for children from 8 to 13 years old, and is the perfect companion to help them identify and learn about bugs right outside the backdoor.
Winning the Design and Artistic merit category is "Raptors of the West." It's a book of action photography, freeze-framing raptors in timeless images. The book is graphically appealing with photos throughout.
Complete reviews of these and the other 2011 winners may be found at the National Outdoor Book Awards website at: www.noba-web.org.
Here is a list of winners.
• Classic Award. Winner. "The Works of John Muir." Including "My First Summer in the Sierra," "Stikeen," "Steep Trails" and others. In specific, the judges honored the following book: "My First Summer in the Sierra: 100th Anniversary Illustrated Edition of the American Classic." By John Muir. Photographs by Scot Miller. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston.
• Natural History Literature. Winner. "Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams." By Bill Belleville. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
• Outdoor Literature. Winner. "Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout." By Philip Connors. HarperCollins, New York.
• Nature and the Environment. Winner. "Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees." By Nancy Ross Hugo. Photography by Robert Llewellyn. Timber Press, Portland, Ore.
• Design and Artistic Merit. Winner. "Raptors of the West Captured in Photographs." By Kate Davis, Rob Palmer and Nick Dunlop. Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Mont.
• Children’s Category. Winner. "The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs." By Judy Burris and Wayne Richards. Storey Publishing, North Adams, Mass.
• Children’s Category. Winner. "To Market, To Market." By Nikki McClure. Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York.
• History/Biography. Winner. "Take a Seat: One Man, One Tandem and Twenty Thousand Miles of Possibilities." By Dominic Gill. Falcon Guides. Guilford, Conn.
• History/Biography. Honorable Mention. "An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science." By Edward J. Larson. Yale University Press. New Haven, Conn.
• Nature Guidebooks. Winner. "Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide through the Fields, Woods and Marshes of New England." By Mary Holland. Trafalger Square Books, North Pomfret, Vt.
• Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks. Winner. "The Rio Grande: A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of Northern New Mexico." By Paul W. Bauer. New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Socorro, N.M.
• Instructional Category. Winner. "The Cycling Bible: The Complete Guide for all Cyclists from Novice to Expert." By Robin Barton. Falcon Guides, Guilford, Conn.
2011 National Outdoor Book Awards – Hometowns of Winners
• My First Summer in the Sierra. Scot Miller (Photographer) Dallas, TX.
• Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams. Bill Belleville, Sanford, FL.
• Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout. Philip Connors, Silver City, NM.
• Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees. Nancy Ross Hugo, Howardsville, VA.
• Raptors of the West Captured in Photographs. By Kate Davis, Florence, MT.
• The Secret Lives of Backyard Bugs. By Judy Burris and Wayne Richards, Elsmere, KY.
• To Market, To Market. By Nikki McClure, Olympia, WA.
• Take a Seat: One Man, One Tandem and Twenty Thousand Miles of Possibilities. By Dominic Gill, London, England.
• An Empire of Ice: Scott, Shackleton, and the Heroic Age of Antarctic Science. By Edward J. Larson, Malibu, CA.
• Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide through the Fields, Woods and Marshes of New England. Mary Holland, Windsor, VT.
• The Rio Grande: A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of Northern New Mexico. Paul W. Bauer, Socorro, NM.
• The Cycling Bible: The Complete Guide for all Cyclists from Novice to Expert. Robin Barton, London, England.