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Glacier Conservancy book club to discuss native trout

| January 26, 2022 12:00 AM

The Glacier National Park Conservancy’s bimonthly book club will take a look at Michael Dickerson’s “A Fine-Spotted Trout on Corral Creek: On the Cutthroat Competition of Native Trout in the Northern Rockies” as the group hosts an online Zoom discussion with the author Wednesday evening.

A teacher at Vermont’s Middlebury College, Dickerson became interested in the ecology of cutthroat trout after reading Kurt Fausch’s “For the love of Rivers.”

After securing a grant through his college to explore the issue further, Dickerson spent the summer of 2016 with two research assistants learning more about the species in Wyoming before spending June 2017 as Glacier National Park’s artist in residence, further exploring the subject.

“Cutthroat trout are incredibly important. The entire ecosystem of the rockies, including in Glacier National Park has evolved around these native fish. They are not just a sport fish for somebody, they are important to every single creature that lives there,” Dickerson said about his book. “I hope that when people read the book, they become aware of how important the park is and how important the work the park does is.”

The third book in Dickerson’s “Heart Streams” series, which also includes “Trout in the Desert” and “A Tale of Three Rivers,” “A Fine-Spotted Trout on Corral Creek” once again gave Dickerson the opportunity to explore and explain the impacts of mankind on native fish ecology.

“I have a personal love of the outdoors. I enjoy backpacking and hiking and fishing and camping. I am also very interested in conservation and ecology, nature and the environment,” Dickerson said. “We are all interdependent on each other. What happens in the forest impacts the stream and what happens to the stream impacts the lakes and the oceans. Everything is interconnected. I am trying to communicate an important ecological story to people who might not sit and read science or would even think of themselves as being interested in environmental issues.”

For Dickerson, who also spent May 2018 as an artist in residence at Acadia National Park, his experiences in America’s National Parks give him the chance to explore his passions while gaining firsthand knowledge of mankind’s impacts on the environment.

“It’s not just facts that you learn. It’s a personal experience. There’s a deeper connection when the things you learned about abstractly from a textbook come to life because you are sitting there looking at them firsthand,” he said. “Some of the stories in the Glacier National Park area taught me about just how devastating human tinkering with the environmental system can really be. Stories like those about how many invasive species have been introduced into Flathead Lake and how far those impacts have rippled. Those stories show we can’t just blindly change an ecosystem without knowing what we are doing.”

Dickerson is donating his proceeds from the sale of his book to the Glacier National Park Conservancy, with his publisher matching his contribution.

Wednesday’s Zoom discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. and registration for the event is required. For more information or to register for the event, visit the Glacier Park Conservancy online at https://glacier.org/glacier-book-club/.