Grief-stricken after her father's death, Adrienne Ross Scanlan journeys west to seek a new life in a new place. Arriving in Seattle without a job and knowing no one, she encounters the iconic Pacific Northwest salmon in an unlikely place—a Puget Sound suburban creek—and discovers home by helping restore the nature that lives alongside us. Part memoir, part science-based nature writing, Turning Homeward takes us into the messiness and satisfaction of hands-on restoration, whether it's the citizen science of monitoring coho salmon die-offs in a Seattle creek or relocating a bumblebee hive. Along the way, Scanlan explores the real-world paradoxes of repairing home, such as when one nonnative transplant (Scanlan) yanks out another (Himalayan blackberry) to create habitat for native plants, or the opposing needs of homeless people versus birds, who both seek refuge in a beloved city park. What Scanlan learns about nature's resilience and the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repair of the world) sustains her when her beloved daughter is born premature.
In lyrical writing that engages but never preaches, Turning Homeward's heartfelt union of science and spirit shows that restoring the nature close to our lives also restores our courage, joy, and hope for the future.