Marion T.  “Ted” Smith, former advertising salesman for The Winder News and editor of the Barrow Eagle, is the author of a new book titled “The Wilderness in My Backyard.”

The book is the culmination of nearly a decade of photographing wildlife “in the most unexpected of places,” according to a news release. It contains 258 full color photographs of wild flowers, plants, insects, butterflies, birds and other animals — all taken within half a mile of Smith’s house.

“When I retired in 2010 I looked for something to keep me busy,” Smith said in the release. “I have always been interested in photography so I started carrying my camera with me on my daily walks.”

What he found was a revelation.

“Nature exists and persists all around us. It thrives in the places we neglect or ignore. The abundance and variety of natural things I found just by looking astounded me. We just have to look around and pay attention to find the wilderness that exists all around us.”

Smith’s goal in publishing the book is not monetary gain.

“It is just my hope that this collection will inspire others to pay more attention to the natural world they live in,” he said. “This is vital given the threats to nature humans have created.”

In keeping with that goal, all proceeds from sales of the book go to environmental groups and animal rescues, according to the release.

This is Smith’s second book. He is also the author of “Life in the Park, a Novel,” published in 2015. It is a collection of 17 interconnected short stories set in the fictional town of Hall’s Corner in northwest Georgia.

“Hall’s Corner does not exist but could exist and therefore does exist in the lives of its residents,” Smith said. “They are ordinary people who are dealing with conflicts that are common but this exploration of their lives reveals the depths that exist below the surface.”

His inspiration for the novel is his belief that every person has a story, some which extend into the past, and some which take on mythic portions in the present, all intertwined in the tapestry of a place, according to the release.

Smith worked for The Winder News twice in the 1980s and the Barrow Eagle twice in the 1990s.

Both books are available on Amazon.

A native of Adairsville, Smith is retired and lives in Athens with his daughter, three grandsons, two dogs and two cats.

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