In the charmingly dorky world of journalism speak, magazines are often referred to as "books" due to their multi-part structure and emphasis on storytelling. This issue of the Volunteer smacks that idea on the nose with chapter-like sections that celebrate the state's four iconic natural resources: prairie, woods, water, and wildlife. Each "chapter" contains a photo essay and a written essay. The result is a real page-turner if you ask me.

To pull off this special "Sense of Place" edition, we tapped some of Minnesota's finest creatives, including legendary nature photographer Jim Brandenburg, who shot a stunning series of prairie images, and Richard Hamilton Smith, whose photos of Lake Superior ice formations elevate seasonal photography to fine art.

On the writing side, frequent Outside magazine contributor Stephanie Pearson penned a wistful story about a stand of old-growth cedar, while bona fide Instagram star Jenny Anderson (@girlof10000lakes) crafted a lovely first-person account of how she fell for the outdoors.

In all, 26 photographers, five writers, three editors, one art director, and a few buckets of caffeine helped bring this book to life. I should also mention that the Letters, Natural Curiosities, and Young Naturalists sections kindly took some time off to allow each of the chapters herein some breathing room. Look for the return of those regular departments in the Jan.–Feb. 2020 issue.

I view this edition as an antidote for holiday-induced anxiety—though I'm probably projecting. At the very least, I hope it's an excuse for you to curl up by the fire with a good book.

Chris Clayton, editor in chief