Books

Spotlight on Forest Heroines

Women Who Played Crucial Roles in Redwoods Conservation

Book cover of Who Saved the Redwoods? The Unsung Heroines of the 1920s Who Fought for Our Redwood Forests by Laura and James Wasserman. The book is resting on a redwood log.

Who Saved the Redwoods?

The Unsung Heroines of the 1920s Who Fought for Our Redwood Forests

Laura and James Wasserman

Who Saved the Redwoods is an absorbing, well-researched account of the mid-1910s to the 1930s when women played a pivotal role in raising awareness, enthusiasm, and substantial funding for the conservation of the fast-disappearing ancient redwood forests. Laura and James Wasserman tell the stories of the women who acted as powerful partners to Save the Redwoods League in its earliest efforts to protect threatened forestland. They also feature accounts of tense negotiations and dramatic courtroom battles which characterized the initial efforts of the redwoods conservation movement. While the Wassermans detail the exciting accomplishments of the League and its collaborators in the movement’s early years, they minimize later achievements. Overall, the book is a compelling tribute to the tremendous success and lasting legacy of the many heroes whose foresight and perseverance saved the priceless trove of redwood parks and protected spaces we have today.

Who Saved the Redwoods? The Unsung Heroines of the
1920s Who Fought for Our Redwood Forests

Laura and James Wasserman
Algora Publishing
2019, 234 pages, Paperback
$22.95

Portrait of Kelsey Piras

Book reviewed by Kelsey Piras

Kelsey Piras is a writer and editor based in London. Her Northern California roots and time among the redwoods are endless sources of inspiration and awe.


Book cover shows a sepia image of Ynes Mexia, an elderly woman in a cardigan, pants, and hiking boots, sitting at a card table outdoors with papers strewn across the top.

The Perfect Specimen:

The 20th Century Renown Botanist Ynés Mexía

Durlynn Anema, Ph.D.
When Ynés Mexía started her career as a botanist in the early 1900s, she was a woman of Mexican heritage in her 50s in a predominantly white male field. In this book, award-winning author Durlynn Anema brings us an empowering story of a woman who quietly defied the expectations of turn-of-the-century society and rose above her repressed and lonely past to embark on a journey of scholarship, adventure, and self-awakening. Excerpts from primary sources, including Mexía’s own journal entries, are peppered throughout the book and offer a view into Mexía’s inner world and the historical context. From plant-collecting expeditions deep into the Amazon to her support of Save the Redwoods League, Mexía created her own legacy as one of the most accomplished botanical collectors of her time, and this book helps to give Mexía her well-earned place in history.

The Perfect Specimen:
The 20th Century Renown Botanist Ynés Mexía

Durlynn Anema, Ph.D.
National Writers Press, Inc.
2019, 174 pages, Paperback
$14.95

Emily Harwitz, Save the Redwoods League staff member

Book reviewed by Emily Harwitz

Emily joined Save the Redwoods League in 2018 as the Conservation Programs Assistant. She loves nature, adventure, and exploring the world at large.


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About the author

Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.


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