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Arizona Edition: One Book Yuma author Melissa Sevigny

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In the 1930s Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter wanted to gather and catalogue plants in the Grand Canyon.

To do so they’d have to raft an untamed river, face down their colleagues in a male-dominated field and do all the cooking.

Melissa Sevigny’s book Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon, started out with a chance encounter with a hyperlink naming botanist Lois Jotter.

The subsequent discovery of Jotter's writings and works collected at the Northern Arizona University library that mention a raft trip down the Grand Canyon in 1938 sparked Sevigny’s curiosity.

Sevigny's book tells the story of Clover and Jotter, two botanists who faced sexism, physical peril, and professional doubters as they determined to map the botany of the Grand Canyon.

The book won a National Outdoor Book Award in 2023 and hit many top ten lists for the year. High Country News named it to their top five.

The book is also part of Yuma County Public Library’s One Book Yuma program and author Melissa Sevigny will be in Yuma March 21st for a series of events.

Lou grew up in Tucson and has a long family history in the state of Arizona. He began his public radio career in 1988 at KNAU in Flagstaff as a classical music DJ and has been hooked on public radio since, transitioning to news after trying his hand at several other careers in publishing and commercial broadcasting. Lou has a degree in American Studies from Arizona State University and was KAWC's Morning Edition host for two and half years before becoming News and Operations Director.
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