A Kansas Year

Mike Blair

Ask most folks to depict a year, and they'll show you a calendar. Ask veteran naturalist Mike Blair, and he'll show you the wonders to be found in Kansas, season by season.

Mike Blair has spent a lifetime outdoors, venturing beyond fences to closely observe "natural things" while recording his observations in both words and images. In this sumptuous book he presents some of those observations as the cycle of a year, beginning with a hike through January's deep snowdrifts that "gets you down to business" only to later encounter the white driftings of summer as cottonwood seeds take to the air.

“Although Kansas by title and locale, this small-format book (6 x 9 inches) will interest a wide audience, its photos and written text relating, with a few exceptions, as much to the entire Great Plains region as to a single geopolitical entity. . . . I recommend this book to those who want to learn more about not only the natural history but also the beauty of the Great Plains.

—Great Plains Research

“Best book of the year (2009) by a Kansas author . Using the form of journal entries with splendid color photos, Mike Blair has gathered reminders of the everyday natural wonders of Kansas throughout the year. Some of the entries are informative; others are pure poetry. But they are all delightful, and bear repeated readings, a season at a time.

—Wichita Eagle
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A Kansas Year is a breathtaking journey through the seasons. In dazzling color photographs, Blair illuminates the magic of Kansas through 120 journal entries—ten per month—that capture the beauty of the Sunflower State's wild places. Through his lens, we watch the land "green from the bottom up" in Spring, then later witness colors glowing in Autumn's soft and muted light. And through his contemplations, we learn much about the natural world and our connections to it.

In text that is both personal and inspiring, Blair shares his knowledge of plants and insects, wildlife behavior and weather. From the tomato hornworms found in most gardens to the seldom-noticed migration of monarch butterflies, he shows us things we may overlook every day-and what we might hope to see if we only look a little harder. His entries on cedar rust and bark beetles will inform the curious, just as his images of fox kits and birds of prey will enthrall anyone who treasures such sightings.

Covering the breadth of the state, Blair's captivating book appeals equally to the emotions and intellect, to the seasoned naturalist as well as the casual observer. It opens our eyes to genuine joy and allows us to see time in a new way. It is a book to be savored throughout the year—and one sure to lure readers out of doors to discover and rediscover these wild places and wildlife on their own.

About the Author

Writer/photographer Mike Blair lives in Pratt and is an associate editor, photographer, and videographer for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. His photos have appeared in nearly a hundred magazines as well as books and calendars, and for ten years he wrote the syndicated newspaper column "Prairie Chronicles."