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I grew up in the rural Willamette Valley foothills near Eugene, and owe my existence in this wet green crease of the Universe to three generations of ancestors in the Oregon Coast Range. My taste for far-flung ideas led to a Bachelor’s degree in biology at Western Oregon University and a Ph.D. in evolutionary genetics from the University of Kansas.

I love running, rain, running in rain, and hunting for almost anything, including clams, calypso orchids, deer, dogwood blossoms, elk, errant thoughts, fossils, firewood, obsidian, old bones, old forests, orange agates polished to perfect roundness by endless pounding waves, sunsets, sunrises, salamanders, salmon, salmonberries, wild mushrooms, Wild Turkey, wild turkeys, and that Lazuli Bunting singing his beautiful blue-orange brains out from a dead tree in a desert canyon.


Writing: My writing explores the messy interface between human experience and our increasingly wounded world. I’m a biologist and deeply grateful for all that humankind has learned over the millennia. But to become alive, science requires a Place in which to live. Science needs beauty, love songs everyone can sing, melodies that spring from deep aquifers of wisdom into the bright light of day, becoming joyful sunlit riffles running over bright stones, pouring into thoughtful pools sheltering small dark trout, streams that meander across our external and internal landscapes, waterways that weave us into the land from which we came and where we belong. Although my writing wanders over a lot of ground, it is rooted in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest.

If you’d like to love my writing, please read my book Blackberries in July: A Forager’s Field Guide to Inner Peace, or sample a tasty smorgasbord by visiting my blog.

Speaking: I'm comfortable on stage and am passionate about engaging people in the natural world through teaching, speaking, and readings. For 22 years I've taught a popular University of Oregon course on amphibians and reptiles, and have led hikes and workshops designed to enthrall children and adults with these wonderful animals (check out my course website). I’ve also developed an inspirational writing workshop entitled “Writing from the Inside Out.”

Enjoy a few videos from my multitude of book readings.


The Nature of Gratitude: Together with writer, photographer, and lyricist Eric Alan, I have co-created The Nature of Gratitude. “NOG” is a variety show incorporating nature-inspired art forms that expand our experience of gratitude. The Nature of Gratitude has attracted notable performers such as singer/songwriters Halie Loren and Beth Wood, spoken word artist Jorah LaFleur, and poet Charles Goodrich. Since our first program in 2015, NOG has packed Tsunami Books in Eugene, Oregon. We recently collaborated with Spring Creek Project For Ideas, Nature and the Written Word for a Corvallis, Oregon appearance. If you’d like to learn more about NOG drop me a line at