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 the Regional Advisor for the Nebraska chapter 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.