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Release: Immediate

UI Press book examines history of parks movement

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The complex history of preserving state and national parks is examined in a new book from the University of Iowa Press that focuses on Iowa's traditional leadership in resource management.

"Places of Quiet Beauty: Parks, Preserves, and Environmentalism," by

Rebecca Conard, explores the social and political forces that forged American environmentalism in the 20th century.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Iowa was considered a leader in the movement to preserve state parks. Beginning with the 1895 urging of nationally known naturalist (and soon-to-be UI president) Thomas H. Macbride to preserve state parks, Conard examines the roles of botanists and other academic scientists, women's organizations and other citizens' groups, conservationists, federal representatives, historic preservationists and others who created the legacy of modern conservationism.

Dwight Pitcaithly, chief historian of the National Park Service, says, "'Places of Quiet Beauty' is a wonderfully crafted story about people and politics and how each in turn influenced the other. ... Rebecca Conard, through her wonderful mosaic of people, places, politics, and the environmental movement, reminds us that the maintenance of a strong park program depends on a constantly vigilant public and progressive and supportive legislatures. Enjoyable, educational, and highly readable, 'Places of Quiet Beauty' helps us understand why we treasure our parks and what, in the final analysis, 'land stewardship' really means."

Rebecca Conard is assistant professor of history and director of the Public History Program at Wichita State University. She received the Throne-Aldrich Award from the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1993.

"Places of Quiet Beauty" is available at bookstores nationwide for $15.95 as a trade paperback original. The book can also be ordered from UI Press by calling (319) 384-3807 (for calls within Johnson County) or 1-800-235-2665 (outside Johnson County).

Information is also available at the UI Press website: