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.).
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), a member of the National Association of Science Writers, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska State Museum.
Find out more about my adventures in nature and science.