Passion for plants and animals inspires author’s ‘Wild at Heart’ |

Passion for plants and animals inspires author’s ‘Wild at Heart’

For decades, botanist Janis Huggins lugged a pack of field books into the backcountry, wishing someone would lighten her load with a Roaring Fork Valley-specific nature guide. Little did she know that someone would be her.Huggins will celebrate the release of her new book, “Snowmass Village: Wild at Heart,” at 6 p.m. Friday at the Schermer Meeting Hall at Anderson Ranch. She spent nearly five years compiling stories and details on 423 plants, 112 birds and 49 mammals in the valley. The book also features 670 color photos, a lay-flat binding, plant color key, and mammal track drawings.”No one has ever compiled a comprehensive guide to the plants, birds and mammals for the entire upper Roaring Fork Valley,” said Huggins, who called the book a bridge between a coffee table book and a technical field guide. “I believe the text will be interesting, fun and accessible for all levels of outdoors enthusiasts.”After a public reception for Huggins and book contributors, she and project manager Dawn Keating will discuss creating “Wild at Heart” and give examples of how to use it best. The evening concludes with a booksigning.”This book wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support of the town of Snowmass Village, and it has absolutely paid off,” Keating said. “People will be using this book for decades to come.”With chapters on Snowmass trails and geology as well as nearly 500 pages of lore, ecology, medicinal and conservation information on regional plants and wildlife, “Wild at Heart” offers a new reason to venture out onto trails and into the wilderness.”My hope is that readers will use this book to expand their understanding of the rich natural diversity around us, by delving further into the intricate world of each species,” Huggins said. “I’m hoping to help anyone from novices to experienced outdoors people to see the landscape with new eyes.”Anderson Ranch is on Owl Creek Road in Snowmass. From Highway 82, take Brush Creek Road approximately four miles. Turn left on Owl Creek Road and take the first left, just before the firehouse. For more information, contact Allison Johnson at 704-9988.

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