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New Book Describes the Evolution of the Anza-Borrego Desert Region

San Diego, CA— The Anza-Borrego Foundation (ABF) in Borrego Springs is sponsoring a free public book launch for A Natural History of the Anza-Borrego Region: Then and Now, just in time for holiday gift-giving on Saturday, December 14 at the Steele/Burnand Anza-Borrego Desert Research Center at 401 Tilting T Drive in Borrego Springs, starting at 4:00 p.m. Authors Mike Wells and Marie Simovich will  present the story of how the desert landscape and organisms that inhabit this desert area evolved to their present state and what the future may hold for these desert lands. Books will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served. All author royalties are assigned to ABF to help support Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The book was published by Sunbelt Publications of San Diego in cooperation with California State Parks and ABF.

For those who might not be able to make the December 14 book launch, a second public lecture and book signing will be held at the Anza-Borrego State Park Visitor Center on December 20th at 3:00 pm. Call ABF at 760-767-0446 for more information about these two scheduled free public events in Borrego Springs. A third public event will be held in the San Diego area on Tuesday, December 17, at Burning Beard Brewing Company in El Cajon. Call Sunbelt Publications for more information about this San Diego event.

This comprehensive volume evolved from a course on the natural history of the Anza-Borrego region that was developed by the authors over a 16-year period and taught at the University of San Diego.  “Early in the life of that class we discovered that there wasn’t a single book that focused on the natural history of the western Colorado Desert and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in particular,” note Wells and Simovich. The pair took the situation into their own hands, filling the gap with the new “go-to” guide for scientists and park visitors alike. Lavish illustrations work together with the text to strengthen the reader’s understanding of this major desert area that delights visitors with an incredible array of wildlife, wildflowers, and rugged landscapes. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is California’s largest state park at 1,000 square miles—almost the size of the state of Rhode Island.

“This is the most comprehensive natural history book I have seen,” praises Cameron Barrows. “Reading this book cover to cover provides the reader with the what, where and how for understanding not only the Anza Borrego Desert region, but also the deserts of the world.” Barrows is an Associate Research Ecologist at the Center for Conservation Biology, University of California Riverside.

Future lectures and signings will be announced. Check with the publisher – Sunbelt Publications (www.sunbeltpublications.com) — for locations, dates, and times.

Meet Kid Fraser–An Outlaw Turned Musician–in New Book by Nicholas Clapp

San Diego, CA—Documentary filmmaker and award-winning author Nicholas Clapp has once more returned to the West in his new book, The Outlaw’s Violin: Or Farewell, Old West. The book follows the real-life story of Billy “Kid” Fraser – the Montana Outlaw – who over a century ago traveled the West from Nevada’s Virginia City to Montana’s Bannack, and then on to Arizona’s Oatman and California’s Death Valley – to finally settle in Eureka, Nevada, where he was to bring grand opera to a desert town.

A battered and broken homemade violin, discovered at a Mojave Desert swap meet, was to provide an insight into the life of Kid Fraser. Born on the planks of San Francisco wharf, he was to grow up in a hard luck family ever in pursuit of “the next big thing.” They were “tramp miners” in search of a golden dream, but more often than not coming up empty handed. Yet they carried on, eventually settling in Eureka, Nevada, a town that surprisingly had an Opera House, which still stands today. Kid fancied himself a desperado, yet was drawn to life as a musician. Ultimately, music saved the day as Kid recruited international opera star Mignon Nevada to grace his town’s Opera House with what may have been one of the best performances of her career.

Nicholas Clapp’s previous books have chronicled the desert west from the time of Indian shamans through the excitement of gold and silver rushes, cause for Death Valley historian Richard Lingenfelter to praise his “delightfully and visually captivating journey through the lively boom camps of the past.” He and his wife Bonnie have roamed Western America’s badlands and derelict mining camps – and found them enchanting, if on occasion scary. Their historical, real-life characters and intriguing stories have an inescapable wild and wooly appeal.

Book Details

The Outlaw’s Violin: Or Farewell, Old West

Author: Nicholas Clapp
ISBN: 978-1-941384-49-7
Retail: $16.95
Year Published: 2019
Softcover | 7 x 9 | 152 pp.

Ancient Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest on Full Display through Aerial Photography

One man’s thirty-five year quest to document the little-known earthen art sites in California and Arizona and preserve fading geoglyphs is recorded in the pages of a new book, Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest: Earthen Art as Viewed from Above.

9781941384503 | $19.95

San Diego, CA—The deserts of the American southwest contain one of the largest concentrations of geoglyphs outside of Peru’s Nazca Lines. These ancient Native American works of earthen art can be up to hundreds of feet long, and yet are often invisible until viewed from above. Before drones, GPS, or GoogleMaps, photographer Harry Casey began a unique archaeology project. Armed with nothing more than topographic maps, 35mm film cameras, and his beloved Piper J3 Cub aircraft, Casey spent thirty-five years documenting the region’s geoglyphs before natural erosion and human intervention could destroy these fragile sites. A newly published book, Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest: Earthen Art as Viewed from Above, authored by Harry Casey and Anne Morgan, collects Casey’s photographs into the first visual record of these beautiful and mysterious features.

Geoglyphs of the Desert Southwest, published by Sunbelt Publications, is the first book dedicated to the earthen art of the southwest deserts of the United States. Steven M. Freers, rock art researcher and co-author of Rock Art of the Grand Canyon Region praises the book, “This definitive book is an elegant historical account of the relentless pursuit to document and comprehend one of humankind’s great enigmas as expressed on desert surfaces. It is a gem, an essential addition to anyone’s library where the mysteries of rock art holds special status.”

The eldest of three sons born into a farming family east of Brawley, California, Harry Casey had always been interested in flying, photography, and desert archaeology.  These interests led him to take classes from noted archaeologist and historian Jay von Werlhof at the Imperial Valley College in El Centro, California. After many years of flying and photographing, Casey donated his extensive collection of photographs and research to the Imperial Valley Desert Museum, where Anne Morgan was the Head Archivist/Curator. Anne met Harry and his wife, Meg Casey, and what began as an archival project on nearly 10,000 aerial images became a friendship and partnership as she helped edit Harry’s original manuscript into a published book.

A launch party is scheduled for April 13th, 2019 at the Imperial Valley Desert Museum where the project began. Authors Harry Casey and Anne Morgan will be in attendance. The launch party kicks off a week of events in San Diego and Imperial Counties:

  • San Diego Natural History Museum on April 14th
  • San Diego Rock Art Association on April 14th
  • Colorado Desert Archaeology Society on April 19th

Two Reviews Praise “Chasing Centuries”

Two reviews for Sunbelt’s new title, Chasing Centuries: The Search for Ancient Agave Cultivars Across the Desert Southwest, are available to read.

One review can be found at Succulents and More, a blog dedicated to the eponymous group of plants: Chasing Centuries: top agave book of 2018

The second review was written by Maureen Gilmer, a fellow Sunbelt author, for The Desert SunThe search for ancient agave

New Book Explores Ancient Agaves of the Southwest Desert

How they evolved as cultivars for Native Americans over thousands of years

Book Cover: Chasing Centuries

San Diego, CAChasing Centuries: The Search for Ancient Agave Cultivars Across the Desert Southwest (Sunbelt Publications, Inc., 2019) takes readers on a journey through the deserts of Arizona in search of ancient agaves unique to pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Author Ron Parker, a xeric plant enthusiast and amateur botanist, spent years in the field observing and researching these living relics of the past. Lavishly illustrated with photos from the author’s own field trips, this book is sure to become a go-to guide for agave aficionados ready to set out on their own adventures.

Anthropologist and author of Kumeyaay Ethnobotany Michael Wilken-Robertson praises the book. “This lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched work takes the reader on a fascinating adventure through thousands of years of history of human-agave coevolution in the rugged landscapes of Arizona. Chasing Centuries is a book to be savored, carried into the field, kept as a reference and gifted to anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how Arizona’s ancient peoples played an enduring role in shaping the natural habitats of the region.”

Author Ron Parker, a resident of Arizona, has been studying agave populations in the state for many years, and has been out in the field with renowned botanists and regional archaeologists. When not chasing agaves, he maintains the well-known xeric plant discussion forum, Agaveville.org, an impressive online repository for information on agaves and other succulent plants. A lecture circuit and book tour across the Southwest is planned for 2019 and beyond.

Book Details

Chasing Centuries: The Search for Ancient Agave Cultivars Across the Desert Southwest

Author: Ron Parker
ISBN: 978-1-941384-48-0
Retail: $26.95
Year Published: 2019
Softcover | 7 x 9 | 176 pp.

“La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea” in the news

“Part photo book, part history book, La Jolla native Ann Collins’ premiere book, “La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea,” is a tribute to the place Collins calls home. To launch the book, she will be at Warwick’s Books, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7812 Girard Ave.

And the venue could not be more appropriate.

Born and raised in La Jolla, Collins got the idea to make a photo-book through her connections at Warwick’s.

“My photographic interest is nature, landscapes and seascapes. I started taking pictures and making them into cards to sell at Warwick’s. A book seller there suggested I do a La Jolla photo-book,” she said.”

Read the rest of the article at www.lajollalight.com

La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea was also featured on La Jolla Lifestyle‘s website.

New Book Focuses on La Jolla’s Unique Community

La Jollan Ann Collins highlights this San Diego jewel with stunning photographs

San Diego, CA—La Jolla is a seaside community that began more than a century ago as an artist colony. The arts continue to be an important part of life in La Jolla. Residents and visitors have many opportunities to enjoy theater performances, concerts, murals, art galleries, architecture, an art museum and more. No less artistic is the rugged coast line carved by the sea. This community continues to inspire artists today and is the focus of a new book by native La Jollan and photographer Ann Collins. La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea is published by Sunbelt Publications.

In the coffee table book, Collins’s striking photographs of her hometown are accompanied by captions that contain snippets of historical details. Notable La Jollans of the past and present are also featured. Aaron Chang, photographer and owner of Ocean Art Galleries, praises the book. “Ann has put together an excellent tour of La Jolla, both past and present, with many insightful gems that will hit a chord with both locals and visitors alike.” A book launch will be held on November 8th at Warwick’s iconic bookstore in La Jolla. The reception will start at 7:30 pm.

Ann Collins is an author and award-winning photographer who enjoys snorkeling with the leopard sharks and boogie boarding with friends at La Jolla Shores. Her work has been featured in books, magazines, newspapers, and calendars, including the prestigious Sierra Club calendars. During Women’s History Month 2018, she was a featured artist at Art.com. Her work hangs nationwide on the walls of office buildings, hotels, retirement homes, healthcare facilities, and Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.

Book Details:
Title: La Jolla: Jewel by the Sea
Author: Ann Collins
Publisher: Sunbelt Publications, Inc.
Category: Travel | Photography | History
ISBN: 978-1-941384-43-5
Publication date: Fall 2018
Retail price: $24.95
Hardcover, 10” x 9”, 112 pages

May 5th, 1918 Drowning Memorial Tribute and “HELP!” Book Launch

On May 23rd, 2018, the City of San Diego Lifeguard Service and The Lifeguard History Project of the San Diego Lifesaving Association hosted a memorial tribute for the 13 victims of the May 5th, 1918 drowning.  The event of 100 years ago spurred the growth of the lifeguard service in San Diego.  The new book HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue: A History of Their Service – Volume 1 1868-1941 by Michael Martino details the tragedy.

The first two copies of the book were presented to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Council Member Lorie Zapf as part of the ceremony.  Ten years in the making, HELP! is a comprehensive look at the early history of San Diego’s lifeguard service.

As part of the ceremony, 13 lifeguards, including Sgt. Rick Strobel, participated in a remembrance swim out.  Each victims’ name was read out and a bell was rung.  A lifeguard ran out into the cold waves.

Michael Martino, a former lifeguard himself, signed books at a reception held at Wonderland Ocean Pub after the ceremony.

https://spark.adobe.com/video/QcpvOWTnoFWbK

For more photos from the event, take a look at the album on Facebook.

New Book Chronicles The Beginnings Of the San Diego Lifeguard Service

The development of the lifeguard service in San Diego began slowly, in fits and starts since the late 1800s. It took a tragedy off the coast of Ocean Beach to really mark the start of the modern-day San Diego lifeguard service.

Thirteen people drowned on May 5, 1918 in a rip current event at Ocean Beach. Although San Diego first hired lifeguards in 1914, the 1918 tragedy is what led the city to allocate the necessary resources for the lifeguard service.

Michael Martino, former chief lifeguard for California State Parks, is author of a history of the lifeguards called “HELP! San Diego Lifeguards to the Rescue, A History of Their Service, Volume 1: 1868-1941.”

He said the Ocean Beach tragedy, “was the most catastrophic, single event drowning in San Diego’s history.”

Martino said he wrote the book for lifeguards, beach goers and the general public.

“My really big goal was, I want somebody with really no knowledge of the ocean to pick this book up and say this story is fantastic … because what these men did and it’s something that I think that all of us as San Diegans and people who enjoy the beach can be proud of because its not just about lifeguards, it’s about how communities rallied and demanded safety for their families when they came out to the beach,” he said.

Martino joins Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss the book and the history of the lifeguard service.

Martino will sign copies of his book at an event memorializing the 100th anniversary of the Ocean Beach tragedy starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Ocean Beach lifeguard station.