Gene Stratton-Porter was ecology-minded long before most of us ever even thought in terms of ecology. She writes of the Limberlost which was a wetlands in northern Indiana. In "Freckles", she tells the story of a young man, damaged physically, who becomes the better man in Horation Alger-style through pluck, determination, and honesty. "Freckles" gives us not only the story and romance of this boy and his "Swamp Angel", but delights us with the vision of the wildlife and the plantlife of a struggling, at-risk natural resource.
"The Girl of the Limberlost" was introduced to me decades ago by my mother who had loved the book in her turn as a young girl. My memories consisted of the butterflies eating carrion, the mother rejuvenating herself, and the mother redeeming her daughter's love by capturing a moth to replace one she had destroyed. I had to re-read this book to recapture these memories and found the book even more satisfying than when I was a child.
The story and romance of Elnora growing up in the wetlands of northern Indiana is also a cautionary tale for ecology-lovers. Gene Stratton-Porter paints a picture of coming industry destroying nature and those who try to save what can be saved for future generations.
Because of Stratton-Porter's writings, the area she loved and wrote about is being preserved and turned back into the wetlands it once was. The tall trees, hundreds of years old, will never return, but the grasses, the birds, the animals, and the insects are being another chance because of the author's heart-driven writing.
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