Cumberland Island biologist Carol Ruckdeschel has been nominated for the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Awards in the history/biography category for her book A Natural History of Cumberland Island. This is the essential book for anyone who cares about Cumberland. It is essentially a compendium of every species on the island, with Carol’s personal observations and notes from four decades of field study. It also includes comprehensive natural histories of how Cumberland was formed and why it hosts such a diversity of species. It is not just what, but how and why Cumberland became a global hotspot of biodiversity.
“To understand a place, one must live there, as Carol Ruckdeschel has done for more than four decades,” says Kenneth Dodd, Ph.d., of the Department of Wildlife and Conservation at the University of Florida. “The information in this book is not based on casual observations, but on a detailed examination of the life history of the species encountered, individual by individual, through the years. These results incorporate thousands of hours of field biology and laboratory observations, making the author a true natural historian in the best sense of the discipline.”
Having lived on Cumberland Island for more than forty years, Carol Ruckdeschel’s goal has been to document present conditions of the island’s flora and fauna, establishing a baseline from which to assess future changes. Since the late 1960s, she has witnessed many changes and trends that are often overlooked by those carrying out short-term observations. This compilation of data, along with historic information, presents the most comprehensive picture of the island’s flora, fauna, geology, and ecology to date. Carol has spent over four decades collecting data and studying the wildlife of Cumberland Island. The book includes her field observations, photos, and detailed descriptions of every species on Cumberland Island.
If you read only one book about Cumberland, this is it. Learn more and buy it at mupress.org.