Beyond Your Backyard: Islands of Grass
Kimberly J. Epp
On Monday, March 26th, at the Moose Jaw Public Library, Dr. Branimir Gjetvaj shared images and stories from his latest book, "Islands of Grass". This book is co-authored by biologist and author, Trevor Herriot. It is a passionate call to protect what's left of our fragmented grasslands on our prairie plains. This was a program hosted by the Moose Jaw Nature Society.
Dr. Branimir Gtetvaj is a biologist, photography instructor and internationally published environmental photographer specializing in natural history and western Canadian landscapes. He frequently contributes his photographic skills to local non-government organizations with the aim to promote the appreciation and protection of natural environments and cultural legacies.
In 2013, Dr. Gjetvaj was recognized by the Canadian Environmental Law Association for extensive participation in several key environmental NGO's, and for using his photography to advance environmental conservation. He is the current president of Nature Saskatchewan, a provincial conservation organization.
Only a few short generations ago, the grasslands that carpeted the centre of North America possessed one of the greatest assemblages of wildlife on the planet. Today, with most of the land plowed to produce food and fuel, the continent’s heartland has begun to spiral into ecological crisis.
This new book by Trevor Herriot and Branimir Gjetvaj brings to life vivid images and stories from the grassland archipelago where local people try to hold onto their cultural connection to the prairie and where scientists and conservation agencies look for ways to support the kinds of grazing and other users of grassland that keep it healthy and diverse.
One reviewer described this new book as a love story, about our remaining grasslands heritage! It is indeed, beautifully written and features outstanding photographs by Branimir Gjetvaj. The author, Trevor Herriot is a firm believer in the adage that actions are stronger than words, and is one of the co-founders of “Public Pastures-Public Interest”, a group lobbying for the protection of the former PFRA pastures.
Branimir's two most recent books, "Towards a Prairie Atonement", and "Islands of Grass" are a plea for one of the most endangered and least protected landscapes on Earth: the remaining fragments of natural prairie on the northern plains. On these fragmented habitats live some of the most endangered grassland species on earth.
Branimir also photographed "The Great Sandhills: A Prairie Oasis", authored by Rebecca Yost Grambo. Both "The Great Sandhills: A Prairie Oasis" and "Islands of Grass" are available at most book stores and via Amazon. "Islands of Grass" is a hard-covered book, and costs approximately $40.00.
We thank Dr. Gjetvaj for his inspiring presentation. He stayed to answer questions, sign books and talk with the people (approx. 15 participants) who showed up that evening. He even made time for coffee with some of us, before driving back to Saskatoon. We were very honored to have you visit us, Branimir, and thanks from everyone at the Moose Jaw Nature Society for presenting this very informative, provocative and awe-inspiring talk to us.