Why am I fascinated by nature and science? Maybe because I grew up near the Rocky Mountains, where I woke every day to an awe-inspiring view.

Maybe it’s because I love the way science helps to explain how the world works.

Maybe because I learned so many incredible things while earning degrees in Biology (B.A.), Zoology (M.S.), and Ecology, evolution, and animal behavior (Ph.D.).

Here I am, decked out in traditional Amazonian garb, complete with banana leaf crown and bird-of-paradise-flower beak.

Here I am, decked out in traditional Amazonian garb, complete with banana leaf crown and bird-of-paradise-flower beak.

Or maybe it’s because of moments like these:

  • Picking up a garter snake that promptly regurgitated hundreds of earthworms (a very effective maneuver that made me drop it immediately).
  • Dipping my hand in a tub full of “baby” honey bees (newly emerged, less than an hour old–they couldn’t sting yet and were incredibly soft and teddy bearish).
  • Being spied on by a doe. She crept up behind me and watched me from just a few feet away. Her soft eyes were enormous and inquisitive.
  • Being tickled by a baby bat. (They’re very fast climbers!)
  • Having a day gecko run up my arm and across my face to hide in my hair.
  • Seeing the Milky Way stretch across a sky dotted with millions of stars. (One of those rare sights that you can really only see far from civilization.)
  • Watching clouds slowly rotate during a thunderstorm. They only turn into funnels about half the time.
  • Watching heat lightning play across an open field or hail turn the summer landscape white.
  • Standing in the eye of a hurricane.

Every kid deserves the chance to connect with nature through moments like these. That’s why I write. I bring the work of scientists to kids around the world through Highlights for Children, Science News for Students, ASK, and National Geographic Kids books. And sometimes super-cool scientific discoveries spark fictional adventures. So I write those, too.

I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Claire M. Hubbard Research Assistant Professor of Environmental Curriculum at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. (I take real-life environmental scientific research and turn it into fun inquiry-based learning activities for kids of all ages.)

Find out more about my adventures in nature and science.