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RD , Taiga and Tundra (stealth cuddler, look closely) at Wolf Hollow, 1990s.
Family Photo provided by Sharon Lawrence

There are no villains or heroes in the forest, for every creature has its own part to play” RD Lawrence wrote in the introduction to Wildlife in Canada (1966). “Each is ensuring the continuation of nature, for in the wilderness death is a part of life.”

How death sustains life is a recurring RD Lawrence theme, and how each animal plays its part under this thematic umbrella is revealed in the more than 30 books he wrote from the mid 1960s until his own death, aged 82, in 2003.

Lawrence’s real-life stories emerged from his instincts as an objective newspaper reporter combined with his naturalist’s passion for direct (not clinical) observation. Through persistent field research and lengthy stays in the Canadian wilderness, RD Lawrence fulfilled his quest to portray each species “as it really is.”

To see life through the mind of an animal is arguably RD Lawrence’s greatest appeal and accomplishment as one of North America’s pre-eminent naturalist storytellers.

But perhaps RD Lawrence’s greatest legacy is to articulate nature’s example in story form so that we humans might transform ourselves.

Toward furthering that legacy, Cry Wild will help visitors learn more about where they can find and read RD Lawrence’s books and connect them to organizations, writers and photographers that are in their own way working to protect wildlife and the natural world we all share. In that way we hope Cry Wild will serve not as a museum of RD Lawrence’s work but as an ongoing and vital continuation of his life as an educator.

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