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The Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon

Author image credit: Alexis Knapp.
W.W. Norton Publishing

When you think of the Grand Canyon, you probably think of rocks and, of course, the Colorado River. But in the summer of 1938, two women risked their lives to study another feature of the canyon: its plants.

No one had yet surveyed the botany of the Grand Canyon when Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter set off down the river to do just that. In between navigating fearsome rapids, chasing down a runaway boat and doing all the cooking, Clover and Jotter meticulously cataloged the canyon’s plant life. They also won over the fiercest critic of women river runners. Writer and journalist Melissa Sevigny recounts their intrepid journey in a new book, and she joins us to talk about it.


Melissa Sevigny | Science and technology reporter for KNAU in Flagstaff, Arizona. Her new book is “Brave the Wild River: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon” [Amazon | Bookshop]

Airdate: Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Rebroadcast, Thursday, July 11, 2024 at 9 a.m. and Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 11 a.m.

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