Orinda Writer’s Latest Book

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Orinda writer Sally Bolger (2nd from right) poses with fellow children’s book authors (L-R) Vanessa Hua, Colleen Weeks and Mitali Perkins at a recent EFO Read-a-thon event.

    Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS) stole Sally Bolger’s heart when she was a child.  The Orinda writer calls her first visit to Drake’s Beach while a student at Wagner Ranch Elementary school “magic.”
    Bolger’s recently published book, Fun in the Mud: A Wetlands Tale, is a slyly educational fairy tale about the web of life in coastal wetlands.  The book is inspired by her adult experiences serving on the board of the PRNS Association where she was a manager for the Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in November.
    The Association is credited with helping the restoration of the wetlands between Lagunitas Creek and Tomales Bay.  Projects that provide 10 years of scientific data to substantiate the impact are rare.  By sharing the story of the wetlands, she hopes to encourage similar projects.
     “The recovery of the wetlands is astonishing: The wetlands and the species are returning more quickly and in greater numbers than any of us had dared to hope.  It is a story of environmental success that needs to be shared in these times that seem so bereft of any positive news or optimism,” Bolger says.
    During restoration, the group considered how to create habitat for the endangered species and the interconnected habitats necessary to build and maintain an ecosystem.   They needed to address such things as ascertaining the depth of ponds for the California Red Legged Frog, maintaining brackish water for Coho Salmon and figuring out how to help plants withstand high tides and standing water.
    The book originated from Bolger’s fascination with the intricate tapestry of life in the wetlands. “The natural world is filled with magic,” rhapsodizes Bolger who stresses that parents and children alike will be intrigued by Fun in the Mud.  Hoping that the book “opens the door to wonder,” Bolger specifies that she hopes “it inspires kids and parents to take a minute and notice the natural world around them, and wonder ‘why?’”   
    Bolger explains the book (included on the Children’s Book Council’s “October: Hot Off the Press” reading list) mixes facts with “just a dusting of fantasy.”  She invites readers to explore all the nooks and crannies — and animals who live in them — of the muddy, magical world of the wetlands.
    Bolger is a “Greenhorn,” who has travelled the world tending to conservatory efforts and writing about experiences. Encounters include monitoring dolphin populations off Costa Rica; studying the health of the coral reefs off southwest Madagascar; supporting the Cabo Pulmo marine protected area in Baja California; and helping Amazon tribes defend their territories and cultures from destruction.
    Published by Cameron & Company in Petaluma, Bolger’s book is the result of a 10-year writing project she finished during a writing residency Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes.  She describes the book release provided by the company as a “dream come true.” Bolger credits her illustrator Regina Shklovsky and the company’s editors and designers for the success the book has had reaching young readers and inspiring them.
    “The more we learn, the more we appreciate the magic of this beautiful planet we call home,” she wistfully concludes.

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