May 24, 2012
How has the Napa Valley changed over the past 200 years? What did now-familiar places look like during prior centuries? What can the past teach us about designing future landscapes? The Napa Valley Historical Ecology Atlas explores these questions by taking readers on a dazzling visual tour of Napa Valley from the early 1800s onward – a forgotten landscape of brilliant wildflower fields, lush wetlands, and grand oak savannas. Author Robin Grossinger, cartographer Ruth Askevold, and local research lead Shari Gardner weave together rarely-seen historical maps, travelers' accounts, photographs, and paintings to reconstruct early Napa Valley and document its transformation over the past two centuries. The Atlas provides a fascinating new perspective on this iconic landscape, showing the natural heritage that has enabled the agricultural success of the region today. This innovative research – conducted in partnership with local organizations such as Friends of the Napa River, the Watershed Information Center & Conservancy ( WICC) of Napa County, and the Napa County Resource Conservation District – allows us to visualize the past in unprecedented detail, improving our understanding of the living landscapes we inhabit and suggesting strategies to increase their health and resilience in the future.
Join us along the Napa River at The Theatre (formerly Copia) to celebrate the release of this important book. The evening will include a lively presentation of findings, including stunning visual imagery of the valley’s natural landscape as it hasn’t been seen for generations and links to the Napa we know today. It will be followed by a panel discussion with local partners and a wine reception and book signing.
Robin Grossinger is Director of the Historical Ecology Program at the San Francisco Estuary Institute. Ruth Askevold is a cartographer and designer at the San Francisco Estuary Institute. Shari Gardner is an ecologist who has conducted historical ecology research for Friends of the Napa River.