Diane Smith’s Yellowstone and the Smithsonian

Jun 5, 2017 | Events

Author and historian Diane Smith turns to nonfiction for a reading from her latest work, Yellowstone and the Smithsonian: Centers of Wildlife Conservation, at Elk River Books on Tuesday, August 22, at 7 p.m.

Exploring the intertwined histories of two iconic American institutions, Yellowstone National Park and the Smithsonian Institution, Smith’s book details the development of the conservation movement as guided by the park’s mission, which in part is “to protect against the wanton destruction of the fish and game,” and the Smithsonian’s task of promoting “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” By tracing the long-standing connections between Yellowstone and Washington, Smith provides background and context for many of the practices used by conservation biologists today. The book shows how Yellowstone, through its relationship with the Smithsonian, helped establish the iconic nature of the wildlife of the American West, especially bison.

Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America, calls Yellowstone and the Smithsonian “an essential and much needed work of U.S. environmental history.”

Smith is a research historian with the U.S. Forest Service and the author of the novels Pictures from an Expedition and Letters from Yellowstone, which received the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association fiction prize. She lives in Missoula.

The reading is free and open to the public. It will take place upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St., and will be followed by a signing and reception.


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