Book Talk | Wilding by Isabella Tree
NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge and the Environmental Humanities Initiative at NYU invite you to join us for a book talk for Wilding: Returning Nature to Our Farm, featuring the author Isabella Tree in conversation with Joshua Jelly-Schapiro.
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.
Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.
Personal and inspirational, Wilding is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible.
Isabella Tree is an award-winning author and travel writer, and lives with her husband, the environmentalist Charlie Burrell, in the middle of a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex. She is author of five non-fiction books. Her latest book Wilding, is published by New York Review Books. It is winner of the 2019 Richard Jefferies prize for nature writing and was chosen by the Smithsonian as one of their top ten science books for 2018.
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is the author of Island People: The Caribbean and the World, and the co-editor, with Rebecca Solnit, of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books and a visiting scholar at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge.