Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Projects

A prairie chicken cock 'booming,' i.e. dancing his heart out to attract a lady.  

Now that our rainy season has started with a vengeance I’m supposed to have lots of time to hone my blog .... right?  --- Wrong!  My umbilical cord has become attached to my computer, but I’m helping others rather than working on my blog.  I’ve had two projects on the back burner and somehow they they both came to a head at basically the same time; and both involve my parents, Frederick and Frances Hamerstrom.  My parents were well known ornithologists who spent their career developing the management plan for prairie chickens in Wisconsin -- and are credited with saving the species in that state.  
My mother, Fran Hamerstrom with her golden eagle.  She is ready to throw her eagle into the air and call her back with a whistle and a lure.
One of my projects is the re-issue of an anthology of stories I put together after my parents’ deaths, “Hamerstrom Stories.”  Deann De La Ronde, a friend and dear woman who lived with my mother for the last two years of her life successfully twisted my arm and we collected an armful of stories about my parents written by friends of my parents.  Stories included topics such as: ‘Half a Cow is Better than None’, ‘Footed by a 7-Pound Snowy Owl’, and ‘A Hunter I Wasn’t.’ 
My father, Frederick Hamerstrom, was a much quieter person.  He was the foundation of the prairie chicken research.
"Hamerstrom Stories" was never intended for the general public.  Even so, I sold 350 copies ... at cost.  Now I’ve granted permission to the people who run the Prairie Chicken Festival in Wisconsin to reissue the book along with stories by eight new contributors.  I’m nearly done with that project.  
My Mother

The second project is another book.  Susan Tupper has had a manuscript for young readers accepted by The Wisconsin Historical Society, “Frances and Frederick Hamerstrom, Pioneers of Wildlife conservation.”  The press wants lots of photos and drawings .... and guess who has them.  I’ve been searching for photos, scanning and editing until I’m cross-eyed ... but I’m getting there.  Susan’s book is going to be a wonderful way for young people to learn about the early conservation work done by my parents.  

My Father

Aldo Leopold, mentor to my parents when they were his graduate students. 
My father got his Phd under Aldo Leoplold, “The father of Ecology;” and my mother was the only woman to get a degree under him, her masters.  

.... I just thought I'd let you, my readers, know what has been keeping me busy.


  1. Dear Elva,
    Thank you for sharing the wonderful and precious stories. Please update us and heartily hope you will finish up writings.
    Best wishes, Sadami

  2. How exciting. I would love to read your book. What fun pictures of your parents as children.

  3. How exciting Elva!! Please let us know how we can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

  4. Oh what a wonderful thing to be tied to tho. Love the photos here, especially the one with your mom and the Eagle. Would be interested when it comes out so hope you keep us posted on that. No wonder you are such a nature addict. It comes with the genes. :))Oh and I would love to see that Prairie Chicken in person. What a wonderful sighting.

  5. What a wonderful blog post and the photos were great too! Nice to see a picture of the great man himself - Aldo Leopold. I have fond memories of reading Sand County Almanac when I did my ecology and conservation biology degree here in the UK a few years ago. You have inspired me to get it out again !

    1. Would you believe I once attended a Leopold seminar! Fewer and fewer people can boast of that in this day and age. Unfortunately I was wearing diapers and am told was put to sleep in a pulled out drawer in the room where the seminar took place. ....... I guess that really doesn't count!

  6. Dear Elva - WONDERFUL - very nice and warm


  7. Labors of love well worth your time. Am anxious to see the results.

  8. ...this is really interesting, Elva. I loved reading about your parents. No wonder you are such a nature lover and protector!

    ...also...I was just at the 100 Paintings site and saw you made your 100 paintings challenge. Congratulations! I loved the goose...

  9. Elva, like you my blogging has been on the back-burner because of several deadlines in November and December. I took a break from one of them to browse your blog and was so surprised and delighted to see this post on your parents! I went to my shelf and pulled out two books written by your mother, An Eagle to the Sky and Harrier--Hawk of the Marshes. These two birds pulled me into birding and revived my long dormant love for nature. Northern Harriers over-wintered in my fields at my previous home in 1997-2000. In 2000 I went to Wyoming as part of golden-eagle hacking team and the man who located the nesting sites trained with your mother as one of her 'gaboons'. I was delighted to hear him mention her at the time since I had already read both of these books. I will be delighted when your next "stories" volume is published! Vickie