A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm

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Dave Goulson’s fascination and expertise with bumblebees led him to further his research by purchasing thirty-three rural acres in Central France. His meadow is a treasure trove where he recognizes and documents the comings and goings of insects and other fauna, viewing natural surroundings as the seasons change. The book is a scientific treatise delightfully interspersed with humor and personal detail on his morning runs around the neighborhood. He shares observations and opinions of all he sees, especially the number of people (scarcely any), dogs (variously friendly and hostile), and butterflies (beautiful, some exotically so). Eagerly spent visits to the countryside are sandwiched between his university teaching in England, as he treks a vast chronological history.

In the first of two particularly informative chapters, he describes the pre-insect fossil findings in the Canadian Rockies, tracing from half a billion years ago to the present. More bleakly, a later chapter delineates the darker side of today as the destructive power of chemical pesticides are likely devastating great swaths of agricultural land. Even the newer neonicotinoids or neonics, successors to the extended and now banned DDT family, might lurk harmfully in the soil for many years.

Readers will envy students, usually bound to the classroom or laboratory, who are invited to share Goulson’s fieldwork.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Picador 
Publish Date 2015-Apr-28
ISBN 9781250065889
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue May 2015
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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