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Driftwood Valley

A Woman Naturalist in the Northern Wilderness

Theodora C. Stanwell-Fletcher

Introduction by Wendell Berry. Afterword by Rhoda M. Love.

Northwest Reprints

6 × 9 inches. Illustrations. 352 pages.

1999. ISBN 978-0-87071-524-2. Paperback, $18.95.


Out of stock indefinitely

Driftwood Valley recounts a magnificent story of adventure and survival in the wilds of northern British Columbia. For almost three years, naturalist Theodora Stanwell-Fletcher, together with her husband John, a trapper and explorer, lived and worked in the remote Driftwood River Country. Marked "unexplored" and "unsurveyed" on the few incomplete maps of the area, it was a region that had seen few white people.

From their wilderness cabin the Stanwell-Fletchers studied the area's rich wildlife. "We wanted to make detailed and accurate observations on the lives of the Driftwood region; to understand the lives and problems of the wild things about us as they passed through all four seasons of the year," wrote Theodora. Her account reveals the daily pleasures and insights sparked by living close to the wild. It also chronicles the isolation, hardships, and struggles, including the severe sub-arctic winters that brought deep snow and temperatures of forty-below.

A popular success upon its publication in 1946, Driftwood Valley won the John Burroughs Medal for excellence in nature writing, its author the first woman to receive the award. In his introduction, Wendell Berry describes how as a teenager he discovered Driftwood Valley and recalls that it was "the only book I read for a year or two, the end serving only to permit a new return to the beginning." In a new afterword, Rhoda Love provides a fascinating biographical profile of the author.

Member of AAUP