CORVALLIS - Some of the best nature writing in America during the last year and a revised edition of a classic look at how the American conservation movement began are the focus of two books published by the Oregon State University Press.

"American Sportsmen and the Origins of Conservation" is a revised, expanded third edition book written by John F. Reiger that has been called a classic in environmental history. Reiger shows that 19th-century sportsmen --- who hunted and fished for pleasure rather than necessity --- were the vanguard of American conservation.

Beginning in the 1870s, they initiated a movement composed of thousands of persons around the country whose concern for game and the animals' habitat led to the creation of national parks, forests and wildlife refuges.

"This commitment to conservation was based on a code of sporting ethics that required hunters and anglers to take responsibility for dwindling wildlife and forests," said Tom Booth, marketing manager for the OSU Press. "This code would remain a vital force in the conservation movement down to the present day, with Aldo Leopold its best-known proponent."

The 352-page book looks at the contributions to conservation made by Leopold, Theodore Roosevelt, George Bird Grinnell, Gifford Pinchot and others. It includes a 69-page photo album of sport and conservation with 90 historic photographs.

This new, 25th anniversary edition has been heavily revised and expanded with new chapters on pre-Civil War and post-1901 conservationists.

A new book, "American Nature Writing 2001," is a collection of essays written by some of the best emerging young writers of nature in America today. Edited by John Murray, it takes readers on a tour from southern Uganda to suburban Anchorage.

In this 256-page book, readers will encounter a variety of settings and topics. Author Larry Glass considers the contrast between urban and rural life from his Allegheny Mountain retreat; Louise Wagenknecht examines the impact that the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest had on her childhood; Grretchen Yost recounts her experience fighting fires in Wyoming's Wind River Range; and David Petersen reflects on elk hunting in Colorado.

Twenty authors contributed essays and poems for the eighth annual volume of this nature writing series, which "has become the leading showcase for contemporary nature writing," Booth said.

Both books are available in many Oregon bookstores and libraries, or they can be ordered by calling 1-800-426-3797.

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Tom Booth, 503-796-0547