A new coffee table book from The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies documents Aspen’s surroundings through photos and essays. The book is called “The Hidden Life Around Us,” and includes over 400 species of plants, animals, bugs and fungi surveyed at the organization’s 25-acre Hallam Lake Nature Preserve in Aspen.
“Our hope was if you can expose the world to this magnificent array of biodiversity around them that you maybe don’t see every day, that people would gain an appreciation for what’s around them and therefore protect it,” said ACES chief executive officer Chris Lane.
He said the images contributed to the book by photographer Peter Feinzig paint an all-encompassing look at the local ecosystem—one that includes black bears and mountain lions that were caught on camera for the project. Game cameras even caught a cougar feeding at the preserve at night.
Lane and ACES Forest and Climate Director Adam McCurdy contributed to the written portion of the book, which includes descriptive snippets about local organisms and personal anecdotes about the region’s environment. "National Geographic" photographer and filmmaker Pete McBride and "Denver Post" environmental writer Bruce Finely also penned essays for the book, and discussed some of the risks posed by climate change to the area’s ecosystem.
“The whole book came together so well from a writing standpoint,” said Lane. “It’s not only something you look at on a coffee table, but something you could go to bed at night and read and really learn a lot.”
“The Hidden Life Around Us” is available for purchase on ACES website.