Turning Homeward

2017 Washington State Book Award Finalist

Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award – 2016 Notable Book

Nautilus Book Awards (Better Books for a Better World) 2016 Silver Winner


“In this beautiful book Adrienne Ross Scanlan seamlessly interweaves themes of life, place, science, and spirit. Feeling uprooted after moving to the west, she discovers the surest path to home: participation in the natural world. Bees, wrens, herons, turtles, and salmon become her guides. The stories she shares will inspire all readers to look more deeply at the wild in our midst, and in so doing, feel more connected to the places we live. But Scanlan doesn’t simply rest in the peace of nature. This book gently invites us all to delight in the natural world, yes, but also to participate fully in its repair and its wholeness.”

          –Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of Crow Planet and The Urban Bestiary

Turning Homeward –  Restoring Hope and Nature in the Urban Wild  is a narrative nonfiction book that weaves personal story with natural history to move readers past ecological despair and into a meaningful, hope-filled engagement with place and home. Turning Homeward was published in September 2016 by Mountaineers Books.

Turning Homeward tells the passionate, personal story of one woman finding a home in a new place blended with the bittersweet joys of urban nature restoration.  Some chapters explore the unavoidable ironies of home, such as when one non-native transplant (me) yanks out another (Himalayan blackberry) to create habitat for native flora, or the conflicting needs of homeless people versus native birds, each seeking refuge at a beloved city park. Citizen science is at the heart of several chapters, including monitoring coho salmon die-offs at Seattle’s Longfellow Creek. Whether salvaging native plants or relocating a bumblebee hive, what I learn about nature’s resilience guides me through illness, my father’s death, and other family challenges.

In a book club? Mountaineers Books is offering a 20% discount if purchased directly from their site.  Details are on my Book Clubs page.

You can also purchase Turning Homeward at Amazon, Elliot Bay Book Company, Powells, and your local independent bookstore.


“In her delightful and thought-provoking narrative, Adrienne Ross Scanlan takes readers into small nooks of the natural world where she explores the big and often-neglected questions of what it means to call a place home. Turning Homeward will inspire newcomers and long-time residents anywhere to follow Scanlan’s example as she surveys, rescues, tosses, uproots, worries, digs, and restores her way into her community.”

          –Maria Mudd Ruth, author of Rare Bird


Chapter Excerpt: “Cottage Lake Creek”
Chapter Excerpt: “East King County”
Chapter Excerpt: “The Montlake House

Chapter Excerpt: “The Nisqually River”

“Adrienne Ross Scanlan writes beautifully about salmon restoration and citizen science, as well as about how ‘to stay alert for beauty in overlooked places.’ Bittersweet and yet inspiring, her book asks the important questions: how can we share our home with wildlife and wild places in an increasingly urbanized metropolis?”

          –Barbara Sjoholm, author of The Palace of the Snow Queen

To learn more about Turning Homeward, please contact me at: Adrienne@adrienne-ross-scanlan.com.