Retired biology professor publishes pocket-sized guide to Steamboat wildflowers

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— When author Teresa Audesirk set out three years ago on foot and on horseback to collect photographs for a new wildflower field guide to the Steamboat area, she made sure to take note of some of the humbler blossoms in the Yampa Valley and surrounding mountains. She even published photos of some noxious weeds that happen to flower. But those plants, like spotted knapweed, are clearly labeled with an extreme frowny face in the book, “Blooms ‘Round the Boat."

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Retired University of Colorado Denver biology professor Teresa Audesirk is the author of a new wildflower field guide, "Blooms 'Round the Boat."

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"Blooms 'Round the Boat" by Teresa E. Audesirk

The book is destined to become a hiking companion for many outdoor lovers who often find themselves asking, “Is that Alpine pussytoes or American Bistort?”

Audesirk is not a botanist, but she is a retired professor of biology at the University of Colorado Denver. And with her husband, Gerry (he copy-edited the wildflower book), she authored a well used introductory biology textbook for college students. So it’s no surprise that she takes note of local flora on her outings. But all too often, she found she was unable to identify the flowers she saw on her hikes in any one of several wildflower books.

“I think it’s very tempting for field guide authors to try to cover a large area like the entire Rocky Mountains,” Audesirk said. “With the size of their books limited, they end up getting the most spectacular flowers.”

Audesirk found the blossoms for her book within about 30 miles of Steamboat.

She also found room for a non-native plant you’ve probably seen near your home or a nearby vacant lot and weren’t able to identify – sweet clover. The spindly stems grow to be several feet tall, and the tiny yellow flowers resemble pea flowers, Audesirk writes. Brought to the U.S. for livestock feed, the plant is foraged by both bears and mule deer. Although it’s from Eurasia, it’s not branded as an invasive species, she said.

The book is packed with the author’s own photographs, most of them taken in the field against a dark brown cloth, to make them stand out. Audesirk is a good photographer and took care to catch the leaves of each plant in her images.

“I started out just taking wildflower photos because I thought they were gorgeous,” she said. “When I got serious, I targeted photos of the leaves in my photos and went home to look them up. I did sometimes get frustrated because two or three different flowers can sometimes look identical, but the leaves varied a lot.”

The book was beautifully printed in Steamboat Springs by Carrie Wettlaufer of Element Print and Design. She and her staff captured the subtle colorations of the blossoms. The book is organized by those colors, easily picked out by color tabs at the top right corner of the page. The 172-page volume is small enough to fit in a jacket pocket, and the spiral binding means the pages fall open and stay open.

It was relatively costly to produce because of the many photographs it contains – sometimes up to four per page. It is available for $19.99 at Off the Beaten Path and coming soon to the Tread of Pioneers Museum store.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

Comments

Scott Wedel 9 months, 1 week ago

Sounds like a nice book that might make an even better app. When someone wonders what type of flower they are seeing is when they want to be able to look it up.

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rhys jones 9 months, 1 week ago

Sounds easy, Scott. Why don't you write that for us?

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Scott Wedel 9 months, 1 week ago

I was actually trying to be helpful suggesting that her work might also find an audience in electronic forms.

Article mentions she spent time with a local book publisher to make the books look good. There are also people that do a similar thing to convert reference materials to apps.

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rhys jones 9 months ago

Sorry to be such a cynic, Scott, it's probably not a bad idea -- but it WOULD take a lot of work, even still, and I just don't see anybody taking it on, without a guaranteed return or backing going in. Heck, I'll do it, if you'll pick up the tab. We'll start with rent.

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Brian Kotowski 9 months ago

I've always found this one to be indispensable. However it's illustrated as opposed to photographed, so I look forward to professor Audesirk's book.

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Mark Ruckman 9 months ago

Me too... it is on my list to buy this winter

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Brian Kotowski 9 months ago

Incidentally, I am boycotting Slopeside as long as their obnoxious banner continues to consume so much of the screen when I'm on this site.

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Scott Wedel 9 months ago

That banner ad inspired me to install Adblock Plus which has worked wonderfully. It even disables the daily question to see articles annoyance.

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rhys jones 9 months ago

Thanks for the nudge, Scott -- that worked right out of the box!! Didn't even have to restart Firefox. Bye-bye Slopeside. The problem with their ad is (was) that it stayed there on the page, not scrolling with it like the pollution above does; if they were both on the screen, there was maybe an inch of real page in between. To add insult to injury, that damn Alpine Ranch hung around for 5 seconds after you told it to close. Somebody intentionally wasted my time, time and again. AHA!! I see a Sheraton bottom ad over on the Windows/Explorer box (junk software x 2). The ads overlap, Alpine above, Sheraton below; no content is visible. Gotta put AdBlock on the Explorer and Chrome over there. Get these snakes OUT OF HERE.

Ya never know where it's gonna come from... and I take back most of the bad things I said about you. Thanks!!

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rhys jones 9 months ago

Update: Explorer needed a restart after the AdBlack installation to work -- and WHEW, that had ads popping up all over -- while Chrome didn't need it at all.

Bottom line: DUMP EXPLORER, if you're up to it. It's easy. Your online experience will be MUCH better. Get Chrome or Firefox. Trust me on this one; I work with this stuff all day long -- nights and weekends too, both sides of the fence, and if I can't get you to drop Windows for Linux, at least get rid of that junk browser. But Windows REALLY SUCKS, can of worms, I dislike it immensely, only work with it as necessary, take it for what it's worth. Thanks again, Scott.

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john bailey 9 months ago

shocked , shocked , I tell ya........jeje ~;0)

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