Winner of the 2005 John Burroughs Medal Award for Natural History Writing
Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed
element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple
lives of mosses.
|"An interesting account, both personal and exact, of an area of the vegetable kingdom that I often do not even notice . . . [a] passionate emphasis on something often most successfully appreciated by viewing through a microscope."|
— Jamaica Kincaid, The New York Times Book Review
"It takes a certain kind of courage and passion to write an entire book on mosses . . . Kimmerer admirably rises to the challenge in her first book, Gathering Moss, opening up a world of rich surprises in the process. What we learn about mosses is breathtaking."
"Something I took for granted suddenly has come alive, because I have been given its story. After reading this book, I took a magnifying glass outside and pored over tree trunks. I have seen Robin Kimmerer's miniature landscape for myself. Yet, this is so much more than a book about mosses. This is a Native American woman speaking. This is a mother's story. This is science revealed through the human psyche. Robin Kimmerer is a scientist who combines empiricism with all other forms of knowing. Hers is a spectacularly different view of the world, and her true voice needs to be heard."
— Janisse Ray, author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Wild Card Quilt: Taking a Chance on Home
In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Wall Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their
lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating
organisms have to teach us.
Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in
scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of
living in the world.
Robin Wall Kimmerer is an Associate Professor on the faculty of Environmental and Forest Biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. She has published numerous articles on the biology and ecology of mosses, as well as articles on traditional Native American knowledge of the natural world. Gathering Moss is her first book.