Terrace Books, an imprint of The University of Wisconsin Press



Listen to the Land
Conservation Conversations
Dennis Boyer


“If we’re ever going to be nicer to the Earth it would be a good idea to be nicer to each other. . . . The Earth is already whole; work on wholeness for the human critters. Clean up after yourself, look both ways before you cross the street, and don’t take any wooden nickels.” —advice from a post-Nader ecologist, excerpt from Listen to the Land


Inspired by years of talking with farmers, foragers, loggers, tribal activists, seed savers, fishers, railroaders, and nature lovers of all stripes, Dennis Boyer has created in Listen to the Land a fascinating communal conversation that invites readers to ponder their own roles in grassroots environmentalism. The nearly fifty voices that Boyer recreates here cross genders, generations, and geography. They include an Ojibwe leader contemplating nuclear waste, a houseboat dweller, a woman sharing her skills in gathering edible plants, a caboose-tender, a Milwaukeean fighting urban blight —even a recluse who shoots out streetlights.


Each of the extraordinarily varied perspectives that Boyer recreates here considers the question, How do I interact with the Earth? Each has something important to say that expands our understanding of conservation and environmentalism. Listen to the Land encourages you to read a conversation or two and then go outside and start one of your own.


“I have seen no other work that resembles Listen to the Land. It includes diverse perspectives on the environment, sense of place, the power of nature, and relationship to the land. It belongs on the shelf next to Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold, John Muir, and Henry David Thoreau.” —Jerry Apps, author of In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story


Dennis Boyer is author of many books, including Prairie Whistles: Tales of Midwest Railroading and coeditor of A Place to Which We Belong: Wisconsin Writers on Wisconsin Landscapes. He lives on a farm near Dodgeville, Wisconsin, and is a lawyer active in conservation groups.

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The cover of Listen to the Land is green. With a photo of a person sitting on the wall of a stone circle on a hill overlooking a vast riverine landscape.

April 2009

LC: 2008038485 S
216 pp.    6 x 9

Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-22564-3
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