I had the privilege to grow up on a working farm in rural Kentucky. Watching my elders placed tobacco stalks on the ground to heal the grooves the cattle had worn in the earth with their hooves helped me understand what an important role people can play in caring for the earth. By the time I was eighteen, I was fascinated by the question of what circumstances support people and the planet in simultaneously flourishing.
Living into this question has taken me on some serious adventures. After high school, I worked with the David Suzuki Foundation and the Musqueam First Nation on a stream restoration project in Vancouver. I also studied marine biology in a fishing village in Baja California Sur. One day while I was out with a fisherman pulling a crab pot, I had the chance to see a hump back whale breech just a few feet from our boat. Later when I arrived at Stanford University, I flipped through the course catalogue and was drawn to study human biology and environmental policy.
My love of writing caused me to pursue a master’s degree in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at Austin, where I had the privilege of teaching undergraduates, and led me to finish two novels set in the mountains of Kentucky. Since then I’ve worked on land use issues in the Tetons and contributed to the Jackson Hole News and Guide. My environmental reporting has appeared in the Atlantic, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning InsideClimate News, in addition to other places. In the past seven years, I have also developed a business facilitating writing workshops and helping organizations, writers and professionals to ignite their creativity and bring their writing projects into being.
Most recently, I had the chance to help NewStories and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation create a report on the National Listening Tour on a Culture of Health that they conducted in 16 communities throughout the U.S. I loved collaborating with the NewStories team to bring into the world the inspiring stories of community members taking action for the greater good.
These days one of my favorite places to write is under the huge fig tree in my back yard. Of course, nothing can beat writing at dusk on a late spring evening in Kentucky when the fireflies are flickering against the pitch of the evening sky.