Saving Tarboo Creek

One Family’s Quest to Heal the Land

By Scott Freeman

Illustrated by Susan Leopold Freeman

“A moving account of a beautiful project. We need stories of healing in this tough moment; this is a particularly fine one.” —Bill McKibben, author of Radio Free Vermont

When the Freeman family decided to restore a damaged creek in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula—to transform it from a drainage ditch into a stream that could again nurture salmon— they knew the task would be formidable and the rewards plentiful. In Saving Tarboo Creek, Scott Freeman artfully blends his family’s story with powerful universal lessons about how we can all live more constructive, fulfilling, and natural lives by engaging with the land rather than exploiting it. Equal parts heartfelt and empowering, this book explores how we can all make a difference one choice at a time. In the proud tradition of Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac, Saving Tarboo Creek is both a timely tribute to our land and a bold challenge to protect it. 

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Meet the Authors
Scott Freeman headshot

Scott Freeman

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Susan Leopold Freeman headshot

Susan Leopold Freeman

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Review quotes
“A moving account of a beautiful project. We need stories of healing in this tough moment; this is a particularly fine one.” —Bill McKibben, author of Radio Free Vermont

“As Aldo Leopold so eloquently expressed, healing the damage done to land can be a family’s labor of love. In keeping with the Leopold legacy, Susan Leopold Freeman and Scott Freeman share with readers their family’s evocative restoration journey. They weave together art and ecology as they reflect deeply on what it means today to live well and ethically on this earth.” —Cristina Eisenberg, chief scientist at Earthwatch Institute, author of The Carnivore Way

“Scott Freeman demonstrates a healer’s touch with his pen, just as his extended family of helpers does with the Tarboo Creek property. But what really stands out here is their willingness to put in the work, over the course of generations, then patiently step back and watch what happens to a planet much in need of special care.” —Jack Nisbet, author of Sources of the River, The Collector, and Ancient Places

“In the spirit of A Sand County Almanac. . . Mr. Freeman alternates between reflections on global ecology and local, lyrical observation. . . . not only an earnest report of reclamation but also a hymn to pleasure.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Freeman explains in clear, nonjudgmental prose what is lost when farmland and forests are cleared for ‘development,’ and the losses are great. . . . Thought-provoking and unsettling, this highly readable book is made lovely by homey drawings sprinkled throughout.” —Booklist

Saving Tarboo Creek is a call to action that deserves shelf space beside environmental writing from the likes of Bernd Heinrich, Bill McKibben and Edward Abbey.” —Shelf Awareness

Saving Tarboo Creek is a beautiful mixture of lush description, ecological activism, and lifestyle advice, decorated throughout with watercolors of life at Tarboo Creek. If any book were to woo humanity back to the forest through sheer, earnest charm, it would be this one.” —Foreword

“Readers will find, this story is bigger than a single couple and their pet summer project. . . . Just as Aldo Leopold's book took the hills of Wisconsin as a microcosm of an environment in peril, Freeman casts the effort to revive Tarboo Creek. . . . We all live in particular places and at particular times, this little gem of a book tells its readers, but when we act with family and friends to preserve a local slice of nature, we are, together, saving the planet.” —Natural History Magazine

“These students understand the task that they have been given, at this crossroads in history. And they are determined. This is not despair, or whining or howling. It is the public will, rising.” —The Seattle Times

“Put Saving Tarboo Creek at the top of your summer reading list. In the first place, it’s a gem of a book—comfortably sized and lucidly written. Second, it contains compelling food for thought about the region in which we live. And third, it’s a clarion call for the restoration of habitat, presented in a way that is eloquent, pragmatic and inspirational.” —The Kitsap Sun

“Third and fourth generation Leopolds are putting these invaluable lessons about healthy growth, both personal and environmental, into practice.” —NW Book Lovers
Product Details
Number of pages
Publication date
January 24, 2018