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Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  46 reviews
“We all live in particular places and at particular times, but when we act with family and friends to preserve a local slice of nature, we are, together, saving the planet.” —Natural History Magazine

Can each of us, as stewards of our land, make an environmental difference that can be seen, felt, and measured? Scott Freeman emphatically says yes, and in Saving Tarboo Creek
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published January 24th 2018 by Timber Press
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Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
*Free advanced copy from the publisher

What an inspiring story of environmental consciousness and action in this time of uncertainty. We would all benefit from hearing more stories like this one.
Clare O'Beara
Four and a half stars from me, owing to a couple of factual inaccuracies.
The extended family of Professor Carl Leopold, who wrote 'A Sand County Almanac' about restoring eroded, denuded and exploited land for his family and nature, feature in this book. Tarboo Creek is in Washington State and once supported salmon, which left the small waterway when some of it was culverted, a straight drain was created and trees were felled. Buying a partially timber-harvested strip along the stream, the autho
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lena by: Solarpunk BOM
Shelves: solarpunk, nonfiction
This was an authentic and impressive voice in eco nonfiction!

For three generations the Leopold family has practiced what they preached by being equally kind to their community and their land.

Harmony, simplicity, balance, fulfillment, and hope are what’s found working weekends restoring Tarboo Creek. It will inspire you to make changes...

“...when thousands of people are throwing pebbles in thousands of places at the same time, things change.”
Brenda A
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shelf-awareness
This family is ridiculously knowledgeable about all things nature. I was continually amazed at how much information was prevalent in the book—not only was it a documentation of their work on Tarboo Creek, it also served as a makeshift nature guide. I learned about the mating and spawning habits of salmon, of the variations of trees and how they grow best, and the different species of birds

I am also immature enough to laugh at the name “bushtit” for a bird.

Seriously though, this was a nonstop eff
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
A preachy book about a families quest to restore a section of a creek to provide a salmon habitat. Their actions and deeds are honorable and I fully support the intent of what he and his family are doing and trying to inspire others to do. However, I sense a feeling of superiority over us (people without the will or means to do this). What really turned me off was the final chapter when he makes sweeping generalizations about the "Greatest Generation" and the "Baby Boomers" (I teach junior coll ...more
K2 -----
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting project, the book needed a better editor.

To this reader it seemed a bit preachy and not as worthwhile as other books I have read on the topic of nature, land conservation, and ecology.

Freeman's family was privileged enough to obtain some acreage on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, near Tarboo Bay which they spent years working to recreate in its more natural form. With a group of others, including school children and their families who helped to plant trees they worked over yea
Jan Priddy
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the end, I loved it. This is a book about how one family interacts with and protects habitat. An acreage on the Olympic Peninsula, which had been damaged through careless exploitation, is brought back to life. The author is a master at analogy, and often I stopped and reread passages several time to appreciate both the writing and wise message.

"Every generation has to find its own way of fighting our materialistic nature and reminding its children of the values that matter and endure. We are
Tonstant Weader
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land begins when the Freemans bought eighteen acres along Tarboo Creek with the intention of restoring it so that it once again will be home to salmon and a diverse and healthy forest. This book is a combination of memoir and exploration of restoring the land. Scott Freeman is a biology lecturer at the University of Washington, so he brings a scientist’s mind to this endeavor and that sensibility fills the book with the spirit of inquiry that m ...more
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
I have been reading so many gloom and doom books about climate change lately that this was a nice, positive look at rebuilding our environment. The author's family purchased a tract along Tarboo Creek in Washington state in order to restructure the stream to its original path and encourage Salmon breeding once again. This is a slow book, and I found that I lost my concentration any time that I would try to speed through pages. There is a lot of information about nature, how humans over time have ...more
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: just-finished
This book was packed with so much information. A good guide to nature as well as interesting look at how one family is bringing back a creek and the surrounding area. Conservation is a lesson we all need, a good example of how it can start with just one person and grow into more.

Tarboo Creek is a salmon run, that was used and abused by the logging industry and farms. It took a lot of effort and knowledge (some learned as they went) to bring it back. A work in progress for sure, and what sounds l
Jul 01, 2018 added it
This was a library book, but will probably end up buying.
Gretchen Lida
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Love letter to wild spaces. Saving Tarboo Creek dives into the nitty-gritty realities of river restoration. Even if it is a book of calluses and hard work, it has the mind of a good ecologist and the heart of nature loving poet. The illustrations are also understated in a lovely way and do not detract from the book. A must-read for those who love Sand County Almanac and want to continue the Leopold Legacy.
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing

My first read of the year and a marvelous one, Saving Tarboo Creek is the story of how the author's family went about healing an abused piece of land in the state of Washington. After purchasing the plot of land, Freeman, who has several science degrees and is an educator, went about determining what used to grow on the land, partly by viewing tree stumps where possible, what would be most likely to succeed at taking root in the current climate, and also finding some plants that would toler
Karen Parisot
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The story of one family’s efforts to return their land to its natural state. It is a work in progress, an ongoing process, but very much worth the effort. They are already seeing positive results from all their hard work.
I learned a lot from reading this book authored by a biology professor from the University of Washington and charmingly illustrated by his wife. I read about ecosystem restoration, salmon, beavers and how to plant trees among other things. Alarmingly, I also read that the world
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book follows the trials and tribulations of the Freeman family as they set out to restore the damaged Tarboo Creek in Washington State. It took time, patience and dedication to find the balance needed to bring the creek back to point where it could support local wildlife, especially spawning salmon. Who knew the life of the salmon was so precarious? It seems a wonder to me that any have survived at all considering the changes that have occurred to our rivers and streams over the decades.

Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Tarboo Creek is not only an important story, but a positive readable romp through what it takes to restore land. The Freeman’s kept the story short enough for the attention span of most Americans with a soft message laced throughout. It should not be compared to Leopold’s classic, Sand County Almanac, simply because it is the granddaughter that co-wrote the book. The positives of the book are that it was entertaining, educational, and very approachable to all levels of readership. There is nothi ...more
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
A worthwhile book about an ecology project on a small piece of land in Washington state. This is a salmon breeding area so Freeman gives some background on what salmon need. The book covers the broader picture of how this small property fits into the wider ecology of the creek and the surrounding area and also why this small project matters in the world-wide ecological picture. One message here is: Do what you can, every little bit counts.

Free advance review copy from publisher.
Wendy Wagner
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A nicely written little book about forest and stream restoration, the legacy of the Leopold family (as in Aldo Leopold, the great nature writer), and our relationship to nature. The ending is particularly moving.
Rachael Peretic
Dec 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Tarboo Creek has a rich history when it comes to salmon spawning. Located in the western segment of Puget Sound, its waters were once boisterous with spawning salmon. By the time Scott Freeman and his wife, Susan Leopold, both multi-generational preservationists, purchased a tract of land surrounding it, it had long since been channelized into a drainage ditch with a series of culverts that blocked salmon activity mid-stream. They joined with the Northwest Watershed Institute to revive the water ...more
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
In 2004 Scott Freeman and his wife Susan (granddaughter of conservationist Aldo Leopold) bought 17 acres on Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Their land straddles Tarboo Creek, a 7.5 mile stream that had been degraded from channeling and clearcutting, but used to be a salmon run. They decide to restore their section of Tarboo Creek to its former salmon run glory. The book is half about their work restoring their portion of Tarboo Creek and half about conservation in general and why it's important ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Scott Freeman's Saving Tarboo Creek is an excellent account of ecological restoration on a small, or family-plot type scale. His writing is authentic, and his tales of wilderness in the Pacific Northwest and parallels to that of the Leopold family's in Wisconsin depict a perfect "then and now" of conservation in America.

In many ways, Saving Tarboo Creek can serve as a stronger learning tool than any textbook for conservation biology. While textbooks serve as a quality reference, they offer no s
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Saving Tarboo Creek is a treasure to read and re-read. The book is beautifully designed, articulate, thoughtful, and engaging. I was pulled in from the very beginning. Scott Freeman’s writing, paired with Susan Leopold Freeman’s exquisite illustrations, is an artful blend of memory, personal experiences, scientific facts, and practical knowledge (like how to live with beavers instead of against beavers!). The book is a story of Aldo Leopold’s land ethic in action, here and now—about what can hap ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Once upon a time, Aldo Leopold wrote A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There and the world changed a little bit. Leopold's writings were timely and fresh, and helped launch a rich new tradition of environmental and conservation writings in the wake of WWII. Books as diverse as Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire and Gretel Ehrlich's The Solace of Open Spaces can trace some of their lineage back to Leopold and the other founders of "Deep Eco ...more
Lisa Cobb Sabatini
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I won Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman from Goodreads.

Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land by Scott Freeman is at once local and global. This easy to read tale of one family's efforts to save one piece of land, to restore one small stretch of stream and, in turn, the salmon that use it for breeding, is also an educational essay on nature in general. How does one know which trees and shrubs to plant with a changing climate? Can all crea
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it

“Planting a tree is a way to apply hope. In restoration is the preservation of the world.”

“An ecosystem is a tapestry; climate change pulls at the threads.”

“In just the past thousand years, our increased population and ability to alter habitats around the globe has hit the earth like an asteroid.”

Tarboo Creek, in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, was once a thriving salmon run but over time, due to erosion, development and neglect, it became a damaged trickle. The Freeman family, authors of this b
Eileen Breseman
Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it
As a native Washingtonian, I too have woodsy acreage that I have cared for 30 years. The author's sage advice to watch the seasons unfold, the animal, amphibian & bird life, the movements of the sun and micro climates & regeneration over time are something we practice here. He includes practical details of soils, watercourses, the frogs, soils, water courses and types of trees that thrive here in the NW as well as his native Wisconsin and a piece of property his family has there as well. He caut ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
While reading this book, I kept nodding and thinking, "yes exactly!" Freeman captures the satisfaction and groundedness that I've experienced in my own restoration work. He articulates an ethical approach to relationality that arises from his biology expertise. And the joyfulness with which he describes fungi and soils and stream geomorphology and salmon identifies him as a fellow nature nerd.
The one big conversation I noticed was missing was on the politics of stream restoration. Having spent a
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I almost stopped reading at the introduction:
"No human culture has ever limited its use of resources voluntarily. Throughout history, people have used forests, wildlife, water, and soil until they were used up." WHAT?
What about the indigenous people who lived in the Pacific Northwest for 8000+ years and managed the forests and ecosystems in healthy and sustainable ways? Mr. Freeman offers no land acknowledgement of the people who cared for Taboo Creek for millennial and were driven out by people
Evenstar Deane
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I grew up playing in the valley and hills around Tarboo Creek, our drinking water was from a tiny tributary of the creek, we waded across the seasonal floods to catch the school bus - so I wanted to love this book. The portions that describe the restoration of the stream and the land are fascinating and could have been twice as long. I would have loved to read more about the progression from year to year.

The rest unfortunately reminded me far too much of Henry David Thoreau. I respect those who
David Robertson
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short and highly accessible introduction to the theory and practice of ecological restoration, with details from a project underway on a small plot of land alongside Puget Sound in Washington state. At times encouraging and positive, the book also wallows in some fairly depressing (but completely realistic) information about the state of the natural world. The text is accompanied by illustrations by the author's wife; the illustrations are of good quality, but they generally are domestic "stil ...more
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ACPL Online Book ...: A family that conserves together 1 4 Jan 30, 2018 07:32AM  

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