Come late summer, Alaska’s farmland blooms with romance and colorful ruffles. It’s the season for peonies in the north country—an unlikely floral industry that, thanks to bridal demand, has given rise to a surprising horticultural gold rush.
The lure is especially tempting for those with small parcels of land. Wayne ’76 and Patti ’75 Floyd, for example, joined the stampede in 2011 with only two acres, and have since created a successful business claiming both national and international markets.
“We’d had this farm bug in our hearts from the beginning but we were never in a place that we could do that,” says Patti. … » More …
On the Arctic Frontier: Ernest Leffingwell’s Polar Explorations and Legacy
Janet R. Collins
WSU Press: 2017
Arctic explorer and geologist Ernest deKoven Leffingwell(1875–1971) helped determine the edge of the continental shelf—the first solid evidence that searching for land north of Alaska was likely futile. He also left detailed, accurate maps of Alaska’s northeast coast, groundbreaking permafrost studies, and charted the geology and wildlife of the region. Collins, a Western Washington University librarian intrigued by Leffingwell’s work, reveals a relatively unknown, meticulous, and detailed explorer devoted to the Arctic.
Re-Awakening Ancient Salish Sea Basketry: Fifty Years of Basketry Studies in Culture and Science
The headlines paint a dire picture: By the 2030s, global warming could completely melt Arctic sea ice, imperiling the 19 known polar bear populations that range across the United States, Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.
Could, as some fear, the trend spell extinction for Ursus martimus?
For two of the country’s premiere polar bear researchers—wildlife biologists KARYN RODE ’99 MS, ’05 PhD, and DAVID C. DOUGLAS ’86 MS, both of whom work for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Alaska Science Center—the answer is a decided “No.”
But neither is the future rosy for the animals, according to Douglas, who uses satellite tracking to monitor their … » More …
No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon
Erik Weihenmayer and Buddy Levy
Thomas Dunne Books: 2017
After Weihenmayer became the first and only blind man to reach the top of Mount Everest, he decided his next adventure would be to traverse the treacherous Grand Canyon by kayak. He and Levy, a Washington State University instructor, chronicle the turbulent whitewater journey, and the insights gained by Weihenmayer and other trailblazers he has met.
Unusual Punishment: Inside the Walla Walla Prison, 1970–1985
WSU Press: 2016
Murray was an employee of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services … » More …
Claus-M. Naske ’70 PhD and Herman E. Slotnick University of Oklahoma Press, 2011
In 1867 the Russia of Czar Alexander II was broke. As part of the solution, the country sold its North American lands to the United States for $7 million in a deal brokered by Secretary of State William Seward. The transaction angered many Russians, who felt they shouldn’t give up the colony. At the same time, it … » More …
He draws. He paints. He writes songs and—oh lord—he sings them! Hear him for yourself as you tour the world of Ray Troll '81 via an audio slide show produced especially for Washington State Magazine Online
Perhaps more than most books for children, Cindy Lou Aillaud’s Recess at 20 Below has its feet firmly planted in the real world. The reason for that, of course, is that it’s illustrated with the author’s own photographs of children at the school in Delta Junction, Alaska, where Aillaud teaches physical education. And it’s probably for that reason too that the book makes the most of what some might consider an unlikely subject—the way kids cope with sub-zero temperatures in the far north. Through a combination of first-person narrative—presumably spoken by one of the schoolchildren—and engaging images, Aillaud walks her readers (5 to 10 years … » More …
An Alaska sourdough with Washington State University credentials, C. Herb Rhodes has written his memoir book, Hungry for Wood: An American Memoir. The book derives its name from an Indian translation of the author’s hometown of Hoquiam.
The story is both a romance of the sea and an epic. Rhodes’s late father, Charles, a tugboat engineer, was unemployed for eight years during hard economic times, forcing the family to carve out a living in the woods near Hoquiam.
Both father and son were wounded during World War II. Charles, a Merchant Marine officer on a liberty ship, was hit by Japanese machine gun fire in … » More …