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"Wild Rides and Wildflowers: Philosophy and Botany with Bikes" on Tuesday's Access Utah


Two Utah Valley University professors who describe themselves as similar to hosts Click and Clack from NPR’s "Car Talk," set out to repeatedly bike the Great Western Trail, observing and writing about its variations with every season. The accounts of their adventures, however, refuse to be limited to flora and fauna. 

Scott Abbott & Sam Rushforth struggle with what they see as the religious rigidity of Brigham Young University, explore the ups and downs of marriages and new relationships, marvel at their children’s creativity and independence, and bemoan the physical changes that come with aging, all while careening, panting, and pedaling their way through an ever-changing landscape. In “Wild Rides and Wildflowers: Philosophy and Botany with Bikes,” (from Torrey House Press) Abbott and Rushforth share deeply personal explorations of the male psyche, true friendship, biking, and botany. Abbott & Rushforth say they “hope this is a new kind of nature writing. When people raise questions about nature writing, they often do so because they are put off by forms of new-age certainty and claims that feel one-sided. Two distinct voices that constantly bring each other up short don’t leave much room for cloying certainty.”

Scott Abbott is the author of a book about Freemasonry and the German novel, and of two books about travel and literature (with Zarko Radakovic): “Repetitions and Vampires” and “A Reasonable Dictionary.” He was the jazz critic for the Salt Lake Observer and has translated several works by Austrian writer Peter Handke. He is Professor of Integrated Studies, Philosophy, and Humanities at Utah Valley University.

Sam Rushforth is former Dean of the College of Science and Health at Utah Valley University. He studies aquatic botany and wetland ecology and has published more than one hundred papers and books. He has mentored nearly forty graduate students, who are now working all over the world. He lives in Orem, Utah.

Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.