Nature, Place, And Story
National historic sites commemorate decisive moments in the making of Canada. But when seen through an environmental lens, these sites become artifacts of the occupation and transformation of nature into a nation. In an age of pressing discussions about environmental sustainability, there is a growing need to know more about the history of our relationship with the natural world and what lessons these places of public history, regional identity, and national narrative can teach us. Nature, Place, and Story provides new interpretations for five of Canada's largest and most iconic historic sites: L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland; Grand Pre, Nova Scotia; Fort William, Ontario; the Forks of the Red River, Manitoba; and the Bar U Ranch, Alberta. At each location, Claire Campbell rewrites public history as environmental history, revealing the country's debt to the power and fragility of the natural world, and the relevance of the past to understanding climate change, agricultural sustainability, wilderness protection, urban reclamation, and fossil fuel extraction. From the medieval Atlantic to modern ranch lands, environmental history speaks directly to contemporary questions about the health of Canada's habitat. Bringing together public and environmental history in an entirely new way, Nature, Place, and Story is a lively and ambitious call for a fresh persective on natural heritage.