Islands of Grass

Islands of Grass

Text by Trevor Herriot, photographs by Branimir Gjetvaj

Only a few short generations ago, the grasslands that carpeted the centre of North America possessed one of the greatest assemblages of wildlife on the planet. Today, with most of the land plowed to produce food and fuel, the continent’s heartland has begun to spiral into ecological disaster.

Lyrical, passionate, and beautifully illustrated, Islands of Grass is an irresistible call to action to protect and preserve what remains of this natural splendour – a plea for one of the most endangered and least protected landscapes on Earth: the swaths of natural prairie that spread across the northern plains.

In presenting the irreplaceable beauty and the complexity of the grasslands, Trevor Herriot and Branimir Gjetvaj ask the reader to both admire its majesty and consider its value. Full of extraordinary photographs and supported by Trevor’s thought-provoking prose, this book will bring the wonder of the grasslands to a wider audience.


Islands of Grass book cover. Text by Trevor Herriot, photographs by Branimir Gjetvaj


Praise for Islands of Grass:

“Trevor Herriot and Branimir Gjetvaj’s collaborative work is not only a lyrical exploration of the beauty of the Saskatchewan grasslands, but also a meticulously-researched call to action. Framed by Gjetvaj’s breathtaking photography, Herriot’s prose accomplishes the difficult task of narrating first-hand stories of grassland life while simultaneously unpacking the often-complex anthropological, scientific, and political contexts of ecological preservation. Provocative and informative in its style and tone, Islands of Grass is a fine example of non-fiction that achieves both social impact and literary merit.” – Judges statement, 2018 Saskatchewan Book Awards, University of Saskatchewan Non-Fiction Award (Winner)

“Well-argued and embellished with captivating photographs, this beautifully-produced full-colour volume is a convincing account of the importance of native grasslands to a total ecology. Gjetvaj’s images reveal, in exquisite landscape and close-up views, the land’s flora, fauna, and human inhabitants. Herriot’s insightful narrative is urgently pertinent to southern Saskatchewan and related regions and is a message that needs to be more widely heard. It offers an erudite and well-presented environmental message that invites the reader-viewer to a meditative, reflective contemplation and stirs an inclination to act on the grassland’s behalf.”  – Judges statement, 2018 Saskatchewan Book Awards, Regina Public Library Book of the Year Award (Finalist)


Islands of Grass book; text by Trevor Herriot, photographs by Branimir Gjetvaj


“At first glance it is tempting to treat this small, well constructed, and full colour volume as a ‘coffee table’ book. And it is, though much more as well. Gjetvaj’s images are routinely wonderful and frequently breathtaking. I’ve had the good fortune of visiting GNP on three (far-too-short) occasions and the take-away feeling from those visits is demonstrably reflected in these images. Capturing the depth and size of prairie landscape in a photograph is really tough, as my innumerable lifeless attempts to do so document only too well. Somehow Gjetvaj achieves an almost three-dimensional quality in many of his images. Scanning his landscape vistas in Islands of Grass, one can almost hear the meadowlarks singing.” – Canadian Field Naturalist, book review by Daniel F. Brunton

“There is soul in this book. The beautiful photographs visually highlight the grassland species and evidence the contrast between nature and cultivation through the lens of grassland flora and the endangered creatures who live there: Mormon metalmark butterflies, sharp-tailed grouse, burrowing owl, swift fox, and Sprague’s pipit. This book called me to spend further time with the swift fox and Sprague’s pipit via book and internet. This is a book that not only takes you along in interest but by its very essence invites you to learn more.” – Billings Gazette, book review by Becky Wiehe

“A review of Islands of Grass is not complete without a remark on the coauthor photographer. Complementing Herriot’s often lyrical commentary on the prairie, Branimir Gjetvaj’s photographs bring its magic alive. Ranging from a photograph of a coyote on a snowy field with the caption “winter or summer, the prairie is a landscape that invites contemplation” (12), to the sunbathed photograph of little blue stem grass against a background of circular blazing sun (59), to the photograph of male greater sage-grouse performing “a ‘lek’ or mating dance” (70), the photography is as magnificent as it is powerful in capturing the changing spirit of the prairie.” – The Goose, book review by Gillian Harding-Russell


Islands of Grass book, text by Trevor Herriot, photographs by Branimir Gjetvaj


Published by Coteau Books
Publication date: October 2017

Design: Tania Craan
Production: Susan Buck
Hard cover, 24.1 x 21.6 cm (9.5 x 8.5 inch), 160 pages, 130 colour photographs
ISBN: 9781550509311
eISBN: 9781550509328

Retail price: $39.95 CAD / USD
Islands of Grass can be purchased from well-supplied local bookstores, and through Radiant Press or

Contact Branimir if you would like to receive a signed copy (for order deliveries in the Saskatoon area).

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