Monday, June 28, 2010

GLADYS BLACK: THE LEGACY OF IOWA'S BIRD LADY by Larry Stone and Jon Stravers

Now here's a woman who is one of a kind! One of the joys of exploring books about Iowa is meeting memorable people. I'm so glad I read this book about Gladys Black. I only wish I could have met her in real life.
Gladys was a crusty, outspoken character--a lover and protector of wildlife, especially birds.
Among her many accomplishments, she lobbied to prevent Mourning Dove hunting and the use of DDT, and she helped establish the Chickadee Checkoff which allows taxpayers to designate funds for support of non-game wildlife programs.
In their discussion of her life, the authors quote many people whom Gladys influenced. She especially impressed school children with her walks and talks about birds. Some of them eventually pursued professions related to conservation of wildlife. And she tenderly rehabilitated injured birds--sometimes even in her house.
Although Gladys was self-taught, her knowledge was deep and accurate. She won many local, state, and national awards. I'd like to visit some of the memorial gardens and refuges which have been established in her name.
Gladys Black was her own person, unconcerned about the appearance of her house or her clothes.
I just wish I had the nerve to write to legislators as she did to whose who disagreed with her, beginning her letters: "Dear Knucklehead".

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