Nonfiction Essays

Baird-mud-art

Silt and melt-water, Baird Glacier, Alaska

I have written nonfiction stories since childhood and I majored in journalism, but it wasn’t until I lived in the West as a professor that I devoted serious effort to narrative nonfiction about human relationships with the natural world, including my own. My writing is spurred by academic research and science, the West’s rich natural environments, and by my unflagging desire to understand how we see and understand ourselves in relation to the living world.

My writing blends experiences and insights about the natural world with what I’ve learned from research of all kinds. Academic scholarship is inaccessible to many people, but it holds much wisdom and relevance and deserves to be communicated to a wide audience. I endeavor to stitch together these “ways of knowing” and present readers with compelling stories of how we communicate about the environment through word and practice and thus make sense of ourselves and our world.

Here are some essays I’ve published.

Breath was a 2021 collaboration among artists and scientists at the University of Utah about climate change. A year’s worth of carbon dioxide emissions data in the Salt Lake valley was “sonified” and transformed by a composer into a piece for oboe, natural sounds, and my words.

Between Bondurant and Pinedale, Wyoming (Orion)

Twisted Music (Camas)

Robotic Iguanas  (Orion magazine)

Teaching Whitney to Cook (High Country News)

A Finger of Owls (Camas)

Dirty Little Words (OnEarth magazine)

Fashion Stories

Talking With A Cougar

Mucking Around in Mammoth Proportions