“There is in us a deeply seated response to the natural universe, which is part of our humanity.” Rachel Carson
My two earliest memories are about nature. At five-years-old, I climbed into the kitchen sink so I could watch birds coming to my mother’s feeder. She caught me, but instead of yelling at me for having my sneakers in the basin, she helped me learn to identify Black-capped Chickadees. Around that same age, my sister asked if I wanted to see the wilderness. She took me down behind the barn, where we crawled under over-hanging briars to pop out in a small meadow surrounded by walnut trees. It was thrilling, scary, and so marvelous. Nature had me hooked.
I pursued birds in school and received a Ph.D. in Ornithology. Then, I studied threatened birds and ecosystems in Florida, developing conservation plans for the Everglades and the Florida Keys. In Washington, DC, I headed the Research Department for the Wilderness Society and then was the Chief Scientist for the National Audubon Society. The interface of science and policy was and is critical. Our focus was on the translation of science so that it would influence policies and management plans for the natural world. Whether about nature, social systems, or health, our public policies are a reflection of our personal and social values. Molding and feeding those values are also critical. We need people to care deeply about birds, plants, mosses, life, and the planet.
Now, I am combining my scientific expertise with a personal narrative that brings the reader into the wilds in a very different way of seeing. I want to illuminate the natural world, helping people see things they might not otherwise notice, and learn about how it functions, evolved, and exists. Life is a breathtaking mystery, and the wonder is sensational when one is just present in the wilds. Looking closely at wild things can be mind-expanding and spiritually enriching. Humans tend to be visual as a species, but our other senses can tell us so much, too. The love for nature is contagious, and this website is all about spreading that love.
“Science describes accurately from outside, poetry describes accurately from inside. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe. We need the languages of both science and poetry to save us from merely stockpiling endless “information” that fails to inform our ignorance or our irresponsibility.” Ursula K. Le Guin