Children •  Environment and Science

$21.95 / Online Sale Price $16.46 hardcover
978-0-8263-4757-2

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The Tree Rings' Tale: Understanding Our Changing Climate


John Fleck

The science of tree rings-- dendroclimatology--had not been developed when John Wesley Powell made his epic voyages down the Colorado River in 1869, 1871, and 1872. Nevertheless he observed that the rising and falling of the river differed over the years and came to understand the important role these variations played in the lives of people trying to live in the West.

While Powell was braving the Colorado River's rapids, a tree in southwestern Colorado was putting on rings. In 1869 it was a modest ring. In 1871, the year Powell returned to begin his second trip, the ring was remarkably thin. In 1872, as the river rose to levels that made it almost impassable, the tree's ring was fat. We know this because, over a century later, paleoclimatologist Connie Woodhouse has studied that tree and many others in the Four Corners region, using the fat and thin rings to estimate how much water has flowed down the Colorado River each year for the past millennium.

The Tree Rings' Tale addresses one of the most important guiding principles for life in the arid West and one that scientists have long recognized: climate variability. Combining classic climatology with oceanography, meteorology, geology, archaeology, and even a touch of astronomy, this exploration offers young scientists a chance to unravel how, over the past 150 years, we have come to learn more about the natural world. Activities included after each chapter provide hands-on experience with some of the very processes scientists use to understand how our world works.

Ages 13 and up


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS

John Fleck is a science writer and journalist for the Albuquerque Journal who routinely writes on drought and water issues. This is his first book.

Karen Taschek is the author of fourteen young adult books on horses, including Horse of Seven Moons, the prequel to The Risen Horse. She is the author of Death Stars, Weird Galaxies, and a Quasar-Spangled Universe and Hanging with Bats, and is coeditor for the Barbara Guth Worlds of Wonder Science Series for Young Readers (University of New Mexico Press).

Karen Taschek is the author of fourteen young adult books on horses, including Horse of Seven Moons, the prequel to The Risen Horse. She is the author of Death Stars, Weird Galaxies, and a Quasar-Spangled Universe and Hanging with Bats, and is coeditor for the Barbara Guth Worlds of Wonder Science Series for Young Readers (University of New Mexico Press).

ACCLAIM

"...an ideal volume....The importance of a child-friendly alternative to the doomsday scenarios aimed at scaring Copenhagen policymakers into action is hard to overstate. Fleck is no screamer, but a modest and patient teacher intent upon introducing us to climate, then giving us tools to consider how best to understand the data behind purely terrifying predictions of drought and dessication of the West. The child who has read Fleck's book is less likely to waste water and far more likely to become a scientist."

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Los Angeles Times



" The Tree Rings' Tale is a fine addition to any science or environmental studies collection."

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Midwest Book Review



"Science is a fascinating and complex story that Fleck shares with younger readers, a group he is most interested in engaging. His enthusiasm for science as "the great adventure of our time" is contagious, and he uses tree ring science as a vehicle to explain the adventure of science in our own backyard."

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New Mexico Kids!



"Focusing on the desert in which he lives, Fleck gives students a way to get involved in science, while sparking an interest in more than just tree rings."

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Albuquerque the Magazine



"...a wonderful book....a stand-alone learning text of environmental studies..."

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The Science Teacher



"( The Tree Rings' Tale) ignites the spirit of innovation and challenges readers to ask how to solve science puzzles....a stand-alone learning text of environmental studies..."

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7 x 10 in. 104 pages 53 color plates, 7 halftones, 1 maps, 2 charts