orion magazine

University of Kentucky

It always strikes me as a little odd when someone talks about either believing or not believing in evolution. While I understand the theological arguments, and trust me…we’re not getting into one today…the current scientific evidence shows evolution to be a fact, not a belief system.

But still, about half the population of the US says they don’t believe that…and a recent article in Orion Magazine points to school systems as being the number one culprit.


  With a poet’s eye and naturalist’s affinity for wild places, Kathleen Jamie reports from the field in a collection of fourteen essays in her book, Sightlines, which has won the 2014 Orion Book Award for Non-Fiction.

Jamie roams her native Scottish byways and hills and sails north to encounter whalebones and icebergs. Interweaving personal history with her scrutiny of landscape, she dissects whatever her gaze falls upon from vistas of cells beneath a hospital microscope, to orcas rounding a headland, to the aurora borealis lighting up the frozen sea.

  Robert Sullivan was last on the show to discuss his book, My American Revolution. He joins us this morning to discuss his ode to the hemlock, a tree with a tenuous future – which is a new article for Orion magazine, adapted from the introduction to Hemlock: A Forest Giant on the Edge, to be published in April by Yale University Press.

The Eastern Hemlock, massive and majestic, has played a unique role in structuring northeastern forest environments, from Nova Scotia to Wisconsin and through the Appalachian Mountains to North Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. A “foundation species” influencing all the species in the ecosystem surrounding it, this iconic North American tree has long inspired poets and artists as well as naturalists and scientists.

    Craig Childs’ book Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth has won the 2013 Orion Book Award in recognition of its success in addressing the human relationship with the natural world in a fresh, thought-provoking, and engaging manner.

Speaking for the jury, Orion Magazine associate editor Hannah Fries said, “A mixture of adventure, science, and engaging storytelling, Apocalyptic Planet demonstrates an open-mouthed awe of the earth in all its dynamism, a spirit of passionate curiosity, and a fresh and humbling way of thinking about the planet and our place within its grand, catastrophic life.”

Craig Childs and Amanda Fries join us.