by Jason Tobin
Town and Country, Missouri, is the quintessential setting for wealthy suburban living. Situated about 12 miles west of St. Louis, the exclusive enclave has long been considered one of the premier locales for the upper class of St. Louis County. Strict residential zoning and few commercial zones have made intensive development impossible, which has led to Town and Country maintaining much of its pastoral vibe. Not to mention its elite status. According to the City Data website, as of 2009, the average home was worth $840,811 and 56.5 percent of Town and Country students attended private school.
Town and Country was first incorporated as a village in 1950 and was initially a farming community before transitioning to a high-end, low-density suburb. The farms have disappeared and been replaced with white picket fences, but over time the topographic make-up has remained unchanged. An abundance of open space still exists. All this room has created ideal grazing lands for whitetailed deer. Considering humans are the only natural predator left in the area, the deer population began to skyrocket in the 1980s.
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by Casey Bush and Tom Webb
Carolyn Finney is a geographer who has discarded maps in favor of storytelling. The UC Berkeley assistant professor has abandoned cartography for cultural narrative. She looks to expand our green horizons with a populated landscape including people like former slave Israel Parson Jones, whose family lived for generations in the lowland that is now Biscayne National Park, and who died as one of the first African-American millionaires. Finney’s forthcoming book, Black Faces, White Places: African-Americans in the Great Outdoors (University of Georgia Press), expands the color palate that is the history and the face of modern environmentalism.
Finney’s unusual career route included 12 years pursuing acting in New York before trekking in Africa and Asia led her to re-enter academia and attempt to redefine the “white wilderness” that has led to a racialization of environmental concerns. As part of that work, she counted the faces of color in 10 years of Outside magazine, finding only 100 out of 4,000 that were not white. But Carolyn Finney is not an outsider herself and instead is working to change the place of African-Americans in the green movement as a member of the National Park Advisory Board and the Second Century National Parks Commission, among other appointments and awards. Finney earned her undergraduate degree from Western Washington University and her Ph.D. in geography from Clark University.
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By Tom Webb
Ryan Burns is not an everyday ambulance driver. He doesn’t scream down busy city streets, pick up accident victims and rush them away to the nearest hospital. He has no need for a siren, since his patients are, without exception, dead on arrival. He’s part Quincy, the county coroner, and part public provocateur, documenting the death of biodiversity in the backcountry of America’s national forests. You can call him a stump-rubber, or tree-impressionist, but you’d never be correct in describing him as an average landscape artist. Forest rangers can attest to that.
“They get real confused,” Burns says of the rangers who encounter him and his 1989 Ford ambulance as they travel the logging roads of the Pacific Northwest. “’Whatya’ doing? Did someone get hurt out here?’ they ask. And I’m like ‘No, I’m just looking for some clear-cuts.’”
A fresh cut mapped and found, Burns pulls out his materials—swaths of paper, a glue stick and a thick rubbing crayon—and gets to work on his latest patient. He finds the largest, freshest stump available. The papers are layered across the ringed behemoth and glued together to form a parent sheet. Sometimes he’ll have to saw off an errant snag so as to create a relatively clean, flat surface. Only then does the rubbing begin. As the pine pitch, bone-black pigment and of his crayon scurries across the stump, a new image is born from the recently department Douglas fir, Sitka spruce or Ponderosa pine. It’s like dusting for clues, and Burns knows that every stump has its own unique set of rings, its own fingerprint.
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More to come!
Our site has launched! Come back soon to see stories from the previously print-only Bear Deluxe magazine, now free to roam the web. We’ll be populating these pages with selected back issue articles and art, news, and web exclusives in the upcoming days.
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