TAC Talks. Will Harlan on his book Untamed, the Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island
Will Harlan’s book Untamed (Grove Press, 2015) tells the story of Carol Ruckdeschel. Ruckdeschel eats roadkill, wrestles alligators, and has dissected more giant sea turtles than any other scientist. She lives on a wilderness island in a ramshackle cabin that she built herself, and she eats mostly what she gathers and grows. A self-taught scientist with only a high school diploma, Carol knows more about sea turtles than most marine biologists. She is the Jane Goodall of sea turtles and a voice for wilderness, especially on Cumberland Island, a national park along the Georgia coast that Carol calls home. Cumberland Island is the country’s largest and most biologically diverse barrier island. Steel magnate Thomas Carnegie owned much of Cumberland, and his widow, Lucy, turned it into a Gilded Age playground. In recent years, Carnegie heirs have clashed with Carol over the island’s future. Will one of the wealthiest families in America be stopped by a dirt-poor naturalist?
Before Harlan’s talk, please take a moment to puruse BRAHM’s galleries, especially Elizabeth Bradford Time + Terrain , an exhibit of Elizabeth Bradford’s paintings. Bradford has visited Cumberland Island and many of her paintings are inspired by the wilderness she found there.
The talk will be followed by a Q & A session and light refreshments.
Registration and prepayment are not required.
Will Harlan is editor in chief of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and an award-winning journalist. He has written for National Geographic Adventure and appeared in Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
His book Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America is a New York Times Best Seller, a Barnes & Noble Discover Award Finalist, the Society of Environmental Journalist’s Rachel Carson Book Award winner, Malott Prize winner, The Daily Beast’s Top 10 Books of 2014, and one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2014.
Harlan is also one of the country’s top trail runners. He is the five-time champion of the Mount Mitchell 40-Mile Challenge, a race to the top of the highest peak in the East. He holds the record for the fastest unsupported run of the Appalachian Trail through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He was the 2009 champion of the Caballo Blanco Copper Canyon 50-Mile Ultramarathon, made famous by the bestselling book Born to Run.
Harlan, his wife, and their two sons live on an off-grid organic farm adjacent to the Big Ivy section of Pisgah National Forest. He is founder of Friends of Big Ivy, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the old-growth forests, water, and wildlife in Big Ivy. He also is executive director of Barefoot Farm and Barefoot Seeds.