Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America Talk & Booksigning with Author Leila Philip

COST: [Free]
Organizer: Santa Barbara Permaculture Network
Posted by:margie

Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America Talk & Booksigning

with Author Leila Philip

Award Winning Journalist Leila Philip first became interested in beavers when she saw a group building a pond near her house. Her fascination led her to research and write her new book,New Times Bestseller  Beaverland, which describes how this amazing oversized rodent has played an oversized role in American history—and how it can positively impact our future.

SLO Beaver Festival March 23 2024 10-3pmFeature Speaker Leila Philip

Through history and contemporary storytelling, Beaverland highlights the beaver’s profound impact on our nation, from the early trans-Atlantic trade and our feverish western expansion, to today’s river restoration efforts. Through her search for contemporary beavers, their advocates, and their foes, what emerges is an ecological history, a call-to-action, and a startling portrait of the contemporary fur trade. Altogether it tells one of the greatest conservation stories in American history.

The Washington Post called the book “fascinating,” the Wall Street Journal said it was “full of charm and wonder,” and the New York Times called it “inspiring”—but what makes Philip most happy is the book’s impact on beavers.

“The movement to bring beavers back to North America has grown in the past sixteen months since the book first went to press,” she writes in a new afterword, where she goes on to list recent legislation and lawsuits in support of beavers. “‘Beaver believers’ are moving from the fringe into the mainstream. Government agencies, federal and state employees, tribal governments, and state legislators are joining nonprofits, scientists, individuals, ranchers, farmers, and other landowners in new partnerships with the shared goal of harnessing what beavers do to help restore river systems and create watershed resiliency.”

Meanwhile, efforts are underway to quantify the economic value that beavers provide. For instance, in a 2021 study, researchers at the University of Wisconsin calculated that within 25 years, the return of beavers to the Milwaukee watershed could create 1.7 trillion gallons of storm water storage annually valued at $3.3 billion.

These developments prove that “the light bulb is turning on,” Philip writes. “We are coming to grips with the ecological consequences of our long history of…abuse in the ways we have used our water.”

“We urgently need to reset our relationship with the natural world,” she concludes. “The underlying connections that we cannot see, the increased flow of water through the land and the increased connection between water and land through the beaver damming complex and the start of canals has initiated biologic, ecologic, hydrologic and geomorphic processes that we are only beginning to understand.”

At the event, Philip will discuss:

  • Beavers’ historical and contemporary impact on both our economy and our ecosystem.
  • How the work beavers do is being harnessed throughout the country to restore stream systems and repair drought ravaged grasslands for ranchers and farmers alike.
  • How beavers are being put to use to help us face the urgent challenges of climate change by mitigating damage from flooding, wildfire, and drought—at a fraction of the cost of engineered solutions.
  • The human challenges of coexisting with beavers who often bring water where humans either also wish to live or have built infrastructure—and the new coexistence strategies being developed and refined with increasing success.
  • The challenge of returning rivers to their natural state and learning to live with the ways beavers are part of the water cycle.

A community program hosted by The Santa Barbara Permaculture Network and the Community Environmental Council (CEC).




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