The Cold Canyon Fire Journals: Green Shoots and Silver Linings in the Ashes is the culmination of six years exploring the legacy of the wildfires that have twice burned Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve. Drawing on natural science, years of patient observation, and richly realized field sketches, biologist and artist Robin Lee Carlson’s study of the canyon reveals how wildlife survives and thrives in the crucible of wildfire and offers a new understanding of how we must live in relationship to the land. It focuses on the details of plant, animal and fungus responses to fire and is also a look at the bigger picture of fire and climate change and fire’s place in a healthy ecosystem. This is a story of fire as a source of transformation and renewal, rewriting wildfire as an elemental power that does not destroy the diverse habitats of California but nourishes and sustains them.
Robin Lee Carlson is an author and natural science illustrator with a particular interest in how landscapes and ecological communities change over time. Her first book, The Cold Canyon Fire Journals, was published in 2022 by Heyday and her work has also appeared in The Common, the literary journal of Amherst College, and in Arnoldia, the magazine of the Harvard University Arboretum. After earning a Bachelor’s in evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz and a Master’s from the University of Chicago, Robin spent many years working on stream habitat restoration projects in California for the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. As an illustrator, her artwork is grounded in observing and documenting the world around her as it unfolds. She has created artwork for interpretive panels, posters, informational backdrops, species and habitat information cards, and playground equipment for a range of environmental organizations and agencies.