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Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land

By Scott Freeman

Illustrations by Susan Leopold Freeman

If any book were to woo humanity back to the forest through sheer, earnest charm, it would be this one.


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.

Media reviews

"A call to action that deserves shelf space beside environmental writing from the likes of Bernd Heinrich, Bill McKibben and Edward Abbey."

Shelf Awareness

"This story is bigger than a single couple and their pet summer project.…This little gem of a book tells its readers that when we act with family and friends to preserve a local slice of nature, we are, together, saving the planet."

Natural History Magazine

"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."


"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."


"This is not despair, or whining or howling. It is the public will, rising."

Seattle Times

"Third and fourth generation Leopolds are putting these invaluable lessons about healthy growth, both personal and environmental, into practice."

NW Book Lovers

About the author

Scott Freeman

Scott Freeman teaches biology courses at the University of Washington, where he received a Distinguished Teaching Award. He worked in environmental education and international conservation before completing a PhD in evolutionary biology at the University of Washington and conducting post-doctoral work at Princeton University as Sloan Fellow.

Read more about Scott Freeman

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