For the Love of Nature
Author: Carole and William Finley III
$25.00 plus $4.95 S & H
Pub Date: October 1 2023
The Finleys were one of America’s great, early twentieth-century environmental protectionists and conservationists. This book chronicles the professional work of William Lovell Finley and his wife and lifelong partner, Irene, as well as Finley’s partnership with fellow conservationist, Herman Bohlman. It is a factual story of their risky adventures, interwoven with personal anecdotes and humor, drawn from historical accounts and their own notebooks and photographs.
In 1899, while attending the University of California, Berkeley, Finley fell in love with Nellie Irene Barnhart. In 1906, they were married. Nellie Irene changed her name to Irene Barnhart Finley and became her husband’s lifelong partner in his wildlife and conservation aspirations.
From 1887 to 1906, Finley and his friend Herman Theodore Bohlman photographed and documented the life studies of birds from mating to hatching to full flight. Their lectures and unparalleled patience to get the perfect photograph earned them the respect of ornithology professionals throughout the field.
Well–known naturalists, ornithologists, and presidents of the United States all praised their work. Their photographs and documentation of devastation by the plume hunters convinced President Theodore Roosevelt to issue executive orders that established The Three Arch Rocks and Lower Klamath and Lake Malheur Federal Bird Reservations in 1907 and 1908, respectively.
The Finleys lived in Jennings Lodges, Oregon, and from 1911 through 1919, William Finley served as Oregon’s first state game warden and biologist. Irene assisted William in promoting wildlife conservation through their travels, articles, photography, books, and lectures. The Finleys touched the lives of thousands and thousands of individuals in the United States and abroad. The issues they encountered throughout their lives are just as prevalent today as they were then.
In recognition of Finley’s contributions to Oregon, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge in the Willamette Valley in 1966.
The book provides a wonderful synopsis of the development and growth of the conservation movement in Oregon and across the nation. It chronicles the Finley’s vision of wildlife conservation and how they used public education to advance conservation at the local and national level. The book dives into the establishment of the Audubon Society in Oregon and the rise of national conservation groups focused on the preservation of natural world. It also chronicles the development of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and early efforts to preserve salmon runs in the Columbia River system.
Carla D Burnside
Cultural Resources Inventory, Monitoring and Protection Program Coordinator