Fire in Their Eyes


When their fourth-grade class was studying Siberian tigers, African elephants, and right whales, my daughter and her friends wanted to do more than study endangered species; they wanted to help them. But they were all so far away.

It just so happened that in our hometown, biologists from New York’s state environmental agency (where I’d worked as an editor) were concerned about saving an endangered butterfly - the Karner blue. So the girls worked with them to collect and plant lupine seeds essential to the butterfly’s habitat. The story also appeared in National Geographic World, Storyworks, and Ranger Rick.

Ecologists are now using controlled burning to rejuvenate the habitat. What is good for the habitat is good for the lupines is good for the butterflies. Our experience inspired this book about a fascinating natural force - fire - its danger and destruction as well as its environmental benefits.

Check this out! One of my favorite natural history museums, The Pine Bush Discovery Center, Albany, NY, has a pine tree suspended mid-air. You can even see its roots!

photos 2008 © Karen M. Beil

Copyright © 2008 Karen Magnuson Beil. All rights reserved.