Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 1998


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 8, No.1, 1998. Copyright © 1998 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


Collecting the Natural World is, in the authors' words, an attempt to "provide a practical guideline to the maze of regulations and possible liabilities which confront the collector" of natural objects in the United States. To achieve this lofty goal would require uncommon knowledge of multiple scientific disciplines, objectivity, and thorough research into myriad laws and regulations. Unfortunately, this work generally fails to meet its goal and suffers from a pervasive lack of objectivity.

Six paired chapters, the body of the book, review federal and state laws and agencies regulating collecting of three broad groups of natural objects: archeological; paleontological and geological; plants and animals. Nine appendices comprise more than half the book's space. Some are quite valuable ("Useful Addresses"), others appropriate (texts of several relevant federal laws), and some, though interesting, of no particular relevance to this work ("State Symbols, Fossils, Flora, and Fauna"). There is no index.