August 6, 2019

 (Photo by Susan Middleton)

“Are you looking for Weight Watchers?” A tall man with a clipboard looks concerned, and I am, in fact, confused. The plushy red saloon-style interior of Oddfellows Hall in Davis, California doesn’t seem quite right for the 68th annual meeting...

May 20, 2019

Hi friends.  I have been a downright slacker when it comes to blogging!  But I am officially dug in on my next book project, which is about butterflies.  In a couple of weeks my significant other (who loves to drive) and I will be recreating Vladimir Nabokov's 1941 roa...

April 15, 2018

For three years I worked with a big inter-agency and multiple institutional team to make a new map of San Francisco called Nature in the City.  The official launch is this Wednesday at the Fisher Bay Observatory at the Exploratorium.  All are welcome – you have to...

June 28, 2017

(This is adapted from my commencement address to The Ross School in East Hampton, where I grew up, earlier this month.)

When I was growing up, great writers abounded in the community, and I wanted to be one. It was more the idea of the writers and their lives that appea...

April 20, 2017

While many scientists are pledging to March for Science across the country on Earth Day, April 22, some of their colleagues plan to sit this one out.  They warn that the very act of identifying their work as a special category of human endeavor could lead to further po...

As we brace for fresh environmental onslaughts to be leveled by the incoming administration, a sleeper cell in the federal government itself may just provide resistance—and even resilience—in the face of it.

On November 15, 2016, members of a 300-plus member grassroots...

January 5, 2017

For those of us who live near Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California, the mountain is more than the central organizing principle of our landscape.  The multitude of habitat types, the 360-views of the coast, the mysteries of crumbly green serpentine outcroppings,...

September 10, 2016

On a Sunday in summer 2008, I was sitting in the library at the California Academy of Sciences, alone on the third floor of the brand-new Renzo Piano-designed building. I no longer have this kind of access, but at the time I was able to move at will into the temperatur...

July 18, 2016

Gearing up for the September 6 release of my new book, this website is being redesigned at the moment by the wonderful Nancy Freeborn. I’m still in the pupa stage yet feel those unfurling butterfly wings in my stomach. Grateful for very thoughtful pre-publication suppo...

July 2, 2016

Maybe it’s because the word refers to the ultimate oblivion, or maybe it’s because most of us think of polar bears stranded on melting icebergs when we hear about “extinction,” but many of us assume the curtailing of life forever is a remote phenomenon. But local extin...

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May 20, 2019

April 20, 2017

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Illustration by Michael Schwab @
Website design by Nancy Freeborn