A retired West Virginia University professor who spent 30 years studying wildlife in the Canaan Valley has written a historical novel about the region.


“A Valley Called Canaan: 1885-2002”by professor emeritus Edwin Daryl Michael chronicles the changes that have occurred in the ecologically rich valley during the past 117 years. The book describes the natural history of Canaan amid a chain of human events such as logging, railroads, farming, hunting, wildlife biology and development.


The story unfolds partly from the point of view of three generations of snapping turtles. Beaver, Canada geese, brook trout, woodcock and wood frogs are some of the other wildlife featured in the book. In addition to describing the lives of the regions fauna, the book provides a rare glimpse into the life of a wildlife biologist.


“I want the public to understand and appreciate Canaan Valley and the fascinating wildlife that inhabit the wetlands of this unique ecosystem,”Michael said.


The 223-page book, printed by McClain Printing Co. of Parsons, also features illustrations by Ken Kreider.


The novel is a result of 30 years the author spent at Canaan Valley doing wildlife research. He directed wildlife studies for the Davis Power Project from 1972-93, studied snapping turtles and conducted surveys for the endangered West Virginia northern flying squirrel.


Michael was a member of the forestry faculty in WVU s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences from 1970 until his retirement in 1996. He was appointed a professor emeritus in January 1997.


Born at Plum Run, Marion County, he attended Shinnston public schools and graduated from Magnolia High School in New Martinsville. He earned a bachelors degree in biology from Marietta (Ohio) College and masters and doctoral degrees in wildlife ecology from Texas A&M University.


He continues to do wildlife research, working as a consultant for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and various private corporations. He resides in Morgantown.


To order copies of”A Valley Called Canaan,”contact Michael at 304-594-9380 or McClain Printing Co. at 1-800-654-7179. The book is also available in the WVU Bookstore. Michael will sign copies of the book from 3-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at The Bookshelf.