Frank W. Reiser
Department of Biology
Nassau Community College
Garden City, NY 11530
The American Natural History
W. T. Hornaday
I was young when my grandfather, Frank J. Reiser (1892 – 1960), first let me turn the pages of Hornaday’s Natural History of North America. The book was already a half-century old, yet was in almost-new condition. The book was a gift from his father, Frank W. Reiser (1865 – 1928), to his grandson, my father, Walter A. Reiser (1916 – 1963), as a present for his seventh Christmas. As I was too young to read, my grandfather read it to me. We spent many enjoyable evenings flipping through the book’s chapters while he read tails of wildlife and added personal embellishments to the pictures the book held between its covers. Gramps was a patient man. He not only endured my frequent interruptions with fanciful and occasionally animated wildlife enactments but often joined in with a few twists of his own, further reinforcing my imagined reality. Some families pass a religious tome down through succeeding generations. With ours, it is a book about animal ecology, Hornaday’s American Natural History. The book is now trustingly held by my son Noah A. Reiser (1997 –
Dedication hand-written on the front pasted endsheet of The American Natural History
A Related Anecdote
One childhood reading of Hornaday’s natural history book did not come to a good ending. It’s one of my earliest memories, so I cannot recall the species of beast my imagination conjured me into becoming. My mother was sitting at the kitchen table in conversation with my grandmother. With determined stealth, I crawled beneath the table and bit her ankle. What burned the incident as a memory into my developing mind was her response. She reached down and grabbed my shirt, dragged from beneath the table to the center of the kitchen floor, and began slapping the living daylights out of me. (This occurred during the mid-1940s, an era when corporal parenting was more en vogue.) Grandpa ran to the rescue. Protectively, he scooped me up — my mother claimed I continued snapping and snarling as he did — and explained to her I was deeply involved in imaginative play, and the nip was neither aggressive nor hostile. Now in hindsight, I consider the incident to have been my debut as a lifelong player of ecological roles.
The Master of the Trail
Charles Rungius (1869 – 1959)
The original oil on canvas painting, titled Rocky Mountain Encounter, is available at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, 2820 Rungius Rd. Jackson Wyoming 83001.
A Picture Worthily Spawning the Animated Conversation of Children
The American Natural History, Hornaday, William Temple, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1904. p 109.
Following is a list of citations, most with links, referring to the author’s work in the science-related bucket-category Natural History. Email me if any links are not working or if you are interested in delving deeper into one of the topics.
NATURAL HISTORY PUBLICATIONS
Antique Microscope Slide Brings the Thrill of Discovery
https://online.ucpress.edu/abt/article/74/5/311/3251/An-Antique-Microscope-Slide-Brings-the-Thrill-of University of California Press (ucpress.edu
New York Must Address Mute Swan Problem
Newsday, Letters, Dec. 16, 2016
NATURE RELATED PRESS
NY Post: Poison Playground
Newsday: Playground Plants Poisonous https://search.proquest.com/newsday/docview/279628675/61E496671B754D1FPQ/2?accountid=6735
Newsday: Editorial supporting my environmental work.
New York Times: Mites Killing Bees
Newsday: Shu Swamp Preserve
Bleyer, Bill. In The Wake of Their Concerns, (boat wake erosion). Newsday, NY Oct. 9, 1992
Sovierno, Brienne. In Search of Wildthings, Massapequa Observer, NY. 04/02/1999
Antonison, Chris. Losing Ground – Shoreline Erosion at State Park, Masapequa Observer, NY 04/10/1998
Antonison, Chris. Ghost Nets on Jones Beach, Massapequa Observer, NY 02/27/09
Fagan, Dan. The Trees are Dying (Front Page), Newsday, 01/17/1995
I was a regular guest on the program On Long Island, Telecare, TV25, for five years and made appearances on various news broadcast on WNBC, News 12, News 55, and Fox 9, to discuss Long Island environmentally related topics.
Chasing News, Fox 9, Jan. 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yk3utiG_qs
(Details and links to be provided at a later time)