animals

Earth Week speaker to explain how a grizzly killing changed the face of national parks

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nature has a way of asserting itself. Jordan Fisher Smith noted a small example of that as he walked into Hanna Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus. During his talk to the 40 students in Amilcar Challu’s American Environmental History class, he showed them a shard of limestone. The building represents human ideas of architecture set in stone. Now nature, through freezing, thawing and the movement of water, is having its way with human design. Or maybe it’s the dandelion, an invasive species, rising up through the concrete sidewalk. “That’s wildness,” he said. “That’s the unexpected that happens without human intervention and design.” Or maybe, that assertion comes during the 1972 celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Yellowstone Natural Park. In the midst of all the activities, a hiker Harry Eugene Walker is pulled off the trail, killed and eaten by a grizzly. That’s the subject of Smith’s book “”Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature,” a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. He’ll speak about the book and the National Park system tonight (April 18) at 7 p.m. in the Student Union theater. Though Yellowstone was created in 1872, people knew nothing about how to run them. They served as “nature management kindergarten,” Smith told the class. Officials were guided by a few “crude rules.” Plant-eating animals were good, and the predators who ate them were bad. Fire was bad. So after human market hunters killed off the elk and bison, park officials decided they…

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