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Escaping into Nature

The Making of a Sportsman-Conservationist and Environmental Historian

John F. Reiger

Publication Year: 2013

Published by: Oregon State University Press


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pp. 1-1

Dedication, Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-4


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pp. v-6

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pp. 1-4

This is the story of how one person’s love of the natural world evolved into a career as an active conservationist and environmental historian. The individual relating the narrative is probably not what many today would consider a typical “nature lover,” for as an angler and hunter, I have been a hands-on, direct participant in the natural world my whole life. The traditions of the rod and the gun and the ...

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Chapter One: Discovering Nature: New York City, 1950-1951

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pp. 5-12

First, there was the insect world. Almost from the time I could walk, I found these tiny beings fascinating. Perhaps it was the variety of their forms and often brilliant colors, and the ability of many of them to fly away, or maybe it was the possibility of hunting and capturing them for close examination, two urges that I have always possessed and which I have never tried to suppress. To have done otherwise would have made me feel like a mere spectator looking in at nature rather than being ...

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Chapter Two: Entering a Saltwater Universe: South Florida, 1951-1952

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pp. 13-40

In May 1951, when I was not quite eight years old, we left New York City, presumably for good, and moved into our nearly completed home on East Broadview Drive in the Bay Harbor Islands near North Miami, on the southeastern coast of Florida. The community had been the brainchild of Belarusian immigrant Shepard Broad, who came to America in 1920 at the age of fourteen. After becoming a wealthy attorney in New York City, he moved to South Florida in 1940, and five years later, he ...

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Chapter Three: Looking for New Special Places: Pre-Prep School Years in New York City, Long Island, and South Florida, 1952-1956

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pp. 41-66

Though Mother was happy when we returned to Forest Hills Gar-dens in November 1952, I was sad. Coming back to New York City was hard for me, because I believed that what nature offered in my old neighborhood could not compare with the variety of experiences Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean had given me on an almost daily Our new residence, at 57 Continental Avenue, was very different from our old home. Whereas the first house was on a quiet street deep in the ...

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Chapter Four: Finding Solace in the Natural World: Prep-School Years in New Jersey, Maine, and South Florida, 1956-1961

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pp. 67-120

The seventy-mile car ride from Forest Hills to Lawrenceville was a study in contrasts. It began in a suburban world, with parks, trees, and bushes, moved westward across the heart of Manhattan, where nature had been all but erased from view, southward into New Jersey along the western edge of the New York metropolitan area and through one of the ugliest, smelliest industrial zones of the United States, and finally out into the bucolic, often beautiful, farmlands around Princeton ...

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Chapter Five: Becoming a Sportsman-Conservationist: College Years in Colorado, North Carolina, the American West, and Europe, 1961-1965

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pp. 121-148

The summer of 1961 was a busy one as I prepared for my new college life in a fascinating, but unknown, part of the country. I was, however, able to take off a couple of weeks to visit my Lawrenceville friend Britton (“Brit”) White, who I had gotten to know only in the last months of my senior year. Brit lived in Denver, and he also loved hunting and the outdoors. Even though Mother would have preferred that I stay at home and work at a summer job, she finally gave in ...

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Chapter Six: Becoming a Historian: Graduate School Years in North Florida, Illinois, New York City, and Long Island, 1965-1970

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pp. 149-170

On my way down to Florida, I stopped at Duke to thank Professor Durden for inspiring me to go into teaching. At our meeting, he seemed pleased at first, but then turned somber when I told him I was entering the school of education rather than the history department in the college of arts and sciences. He urged me to do everything I could to transfer into history. I would then have a much better chance of getting a good position teaching history full time (as distinct from general social ...

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Chapter Seven: Life as a Teacher-Scholar and Full-Time Conservationist: Mainly South Florida and Connecticut, 1970-1988

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pp. 171-226

Having received so much joy from my special places, the mouth of the Carmans River and the two inlets on the South Shore of Long Island, I wondered, as I drove south in the summer of 1970 to begin my new life in Coral Gables, whether I would find comparable natural areas in South Florida. From earlier experiences in the region, I knew that there would be excellent fishing, but what about the hunting? Lake Okeechobee, where I began my waterfowling, was a long distance ...

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Chapter Eight: Back in Academia and Providing Historical Models for Today's Sportsmen (and Sportswomen-Conservationists: Mainly Appalachian Ohio, 1988-2012

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pp. 227-240

After living in affluent places like Spring Lake on the “Jersey Shore,” where Andi grew up, and Coral Gables and Fairfield, moving to Appalachia, where poverty was so evident and widespread, was something of a culture shock for the both of us. We adapted quickly, however, to our new environment. Because the per capita income of people living in the Chillicothe area was well below that of ...

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Epilogue: Reflections on a Fortunate Life

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pp. 241-248

In recent years, as I approached the final stage of my life, I have found myself longing to return to the special places of my youth, like the canal between the lakes at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park near our home in New York, the beaver pond and the waters around the sunken log at the northern end of Long Lake in Maine, and the woodlot east of the On a visit to the canal where I had spent so many wonderful days along its banks, I discovered nothing that resembled the ecologically rich ...


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pp. 249-250

Author's Selected Bibliography

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pp. 251-252

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pp. 253-254

During the several years of working on this autobiography, I have, of course, received the help of many individuals. First and foremost is Mary Elizabeth Braun, who not only proposed the idea for the project, but kept after me until it was completed. She also selected two anonymous reviewers, whose criticisms proved invaluable in revising the original ...


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pp. 255-272

E-ISBN-13: 9780870717116
E-ISBN-10: 0870717111
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870717109
Print-ISBN-10: 0870717103

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 847007753
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Escaping into Nature

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Subject Headings

  • Reiger, John F.
  • Wildlife conservationists -- United States -- Biography.
  • Fishers -- United States -- Biography.
  • Hunters -- United States -- Biography.
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