San Antonio Book Festival - David M. Hillis
Book Festival Author

David M. Hillis

David M. Hillis is the director of the Biodiversity Center at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Natural Sciences. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999 and was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2008. He is also known for his discovery of numerous new species, including Austin’s iconic Barton Springs Salamander. He is the author of Armadillos to Ziziphus: A Naturalist in the Texas Hill Country.

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Book by David M. Hillis

  • Armadillos to Ziziphus: A Naturalist in the Texas Hill Country by David M. Hillis

    Armadillos to Ziziphus: A Naturalist in the Texas Hill Country

    A collection of essays on the ecology, biodiversity, and restoration of the Texas Hill Country.

    For most of five decades, evolutionary biologist David Hillis has studied the biodiversity of the Texas Hill Country. Since the 1990s, he has worked to restore the natural beauty and diversity of his Mason County ranch, the Double Helix. In his excursions around his ranch and across the Edwards Plateau, Hillis came to realize how little most people know about the plants and animals around them or their importance to our everyday lives. He began thinking about how natural history is connected to our enjoyment of life, especially in a place as beautiful and beloved as the Hill Country, which, not coincidentally, happens to be one of the most biodiverse parts of Texas.

    Featuring short nontechnical essays accompanied by vivid color photos, "Armadillos to Ziziphus" is a charming and casual introduction to the environment of the region. Whether walking the pasture with his Longhorn cattle, explaining the ecological significance of microscopic organisms in springtime mud puddles, or marveling at the local Ziziphus (aka Lotebush, a spiny shrub), Hillis guides first-time visitors and long-term residents alike in an appreciation for the Hill Country’s natural beauty and diversity.

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