The Bullhead Queen by Sue Leaf
A Year on Pioneer Lake

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The Western approach to nature has always operated under both spiritual and scientific views. While Christianity decrees that human beings have dominion over nature, evolutionary biology teaches us that we are but highly adapted animals among a biological network of millions of other species. What is our proper relationship to wild animals-and what is our responsibility to them?

In The Bullhead Queen, Sue Leaf exemplifies the moral aspect of humans to nature through a collection of engaging meditations on the places she sees every day on Pioneer Lake in east-central Minnesota. Reflecting on the birds she peers at through binoculars and the Lutheran church that anchors the lake's southern shore, Leaf contemplates how her relationship to nature has been colored by the Christian theology of her childhood. Acknowledging the influence of the church on her view of the natural world, she follows the liturgical calendar as a thread, chronicling the change of seasons over the year.

Leaf considers the results of the assumption that nature is ours to use: we continue to fish, trap, and hunt animals whose populations are ghosts of their former selves and produce mounting environmental pressures on their habitats. Observing the ways in which the heavy hand of human beings has changed the landscape of Pioneer Lake, and many others like it, she also rejoices in the ways in which the lakes remain wild and exuberant, influencing the lives of all who encounter them.


About Sue Leaf

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Sue Leaf is a freelance writer and the author of Potato City: History, Nature, and Community in the Age of Sprawl. Her essays have appeared in Minnesota Monthly, Utne Reader, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, and Architecture Minnesota. A former college instructor in biology and environmental science, she holds a doctorate in zoology from the University of Minnesota. She is president of Wild River Audubon and lives in Center City, Minnesota, on the shore of Pioneer Lake.
Published August 20, 2009 by Univ Of Minnesota Press. 200 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Sports & Outdoors.

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In the tradition of Paul Gruchow and Annie Dillard -- but with her own distinct style and message -- Leaf examines the intersections of science and faith, and of the natural and developed worlds. Her essays are tightly written, wise, sometimes funny and quintessentially Minnesotan.

Sep 12 2009 | Read Full Review of The Bullhead Queen: A Year on...

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