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Today was our monthly book club and we had some great discussions on our book Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith.

Set in the spring of 1898 A. E. Bartram is invited to join a field study to catalog the flora and fauna of Yellowstone Park. Unbeknownst to the professor from Montana who is in charge of the expedition, A. E. Bartram is a woman--the rest of the team are all men. After they get over this startling revelation and learn to accept her, they spend the summer in rough conditions in the park identifying the plants they find and sending samples off to the Smithsonian. We meet some interesting characters along the way.

Yellowstone Park is a fascinating place.

I was out there just a few years ago and it brought back so many memories of that trip. They start their journey in Mammoth Springs

and end camping near Old Faithful Lodge, both places I visited.

It is an interesting tale of how they collected and cataloged plants, but also an interesting view of that era and the roles of men and women, Native Americans and the white folks, plus how one of our national treasures got started and the passionate people who helped shape its future. It is written as a series of letters to others outside the park from the characters who are inside the park. Although it was fiction, it was fairly detailed on the science of plant collecting. We all enjoyed it very much. Makes me want to go back. It is definitely one of our treasures in the United States.

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