Vernal pools, protected lagoons, grassy hills rich in bunchgrasses and, where the San Francisco Bay is today, ancient bison and mammoths roaming a vast grassland. Through the use of historical ecology, Laura Cunningham walks through these forgotten landscapes to uncover secrets about the past, explore what our future will hold, and experience the ever-changing landscape of California.
Combining the skill of an accomplished artist with passion for landscapes and training as a naturalist, Cunningham has spent more than two decades poring over historical accounts, paleontology findings, and archaeological data. Traveling with paintbox in hand, she tracked the remaining vestiges of semipristine landscape like a detective, seeking clues that revealed the California of past centuries. She traveled to other regions as well, to sketch grizzly bears, wolves, and other magnificent creatures that are gone from California landscapes. In her studio, Cunningham created paintings of vast landscapes and wildlife from the raw data she had collected, her own observations in the wild, and her knowledge of ecological laws and processes.
Through A State of Change, readers are given the pure pleasure of wandering through these wondrous and seemingly exotic scenes of Old California and understanding the possibilities for both change and conservation in our present-day landscape. A State of Change is as vital as it is visionary.