by Thomas Lowe Fleischner
Reviewed by Mark Bailey
Thomas Lowe Fleischner is a conservation biologist and former park ranger, a professor of environmental studies at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona, and a naturalist in the Escalante region for almost twenty years. With that background he explores hidden canyons in the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. In his academic writing, Fleischner investigates the connections between sciences, humanities, and public policy, and between analytical and creative modes of thought. He points out that we have no benchmark to know what the New West looks like naturally without the effects of grazing: the cows got there before the naturalists got a look. Fleischner’s work is well known in the conservation movement and frequently cited, but Singing Stone takes the reader into a passionate, personal narrative of the Colorado Plateau. If Dr. Fleischner gets bored we should put this guy on our staff.
My son Nick is working on a degree in Environmental Studies at Prescott College. Earlier this year Nick wrote on his Facebook wall, “My understanding of reality is under construction. Forms and patterns are emerging everywhere. I can’t stop seeing the world anew. Hooray college for massaging my mind!” Words of beauty to a the tuition paying father’s ears! It’s from the efforts of professors like Tom Fleischner that Nick receives such stimulation. Nick grew up roaming the Colorado Plateau in our newest Colorado Plateau national monument, and his professor’s book is an intimate tour of the natural history of this remote and utterly unique landscape, places that you and I are not likely to find without him. -Mark Bailey