Selected Articles

Life in the Fencerows, and Death Lurking Nearby

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“Life in the Fencerows, and Death Lurking Nearby” was published in Washington Post Magazine, June 8, 1986.


“‘ONE OF THE MOST time-consuming things is have an enemy,’ E.B. White wrote, and he was right. The chicken-stealing fox was White’s enemy; the fox-shooting boy was mine. I’d see the boy prowling the fencerows at dusk, his rifle silhouetted against elm branches, and right away I’d drop whatever […]

The Case for Eastern Old-Growth

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“The Case for Eastern Old-Growth” was published in American Forests, May/June 1989.

This is the first article to raise the issue of new old-growth in the formerly deforested East.

“Long enough ago that only old people can remember it, the last of the great eastern forest was felled. Lumbermen sawed first through the Northeast. Then they cut through the Lake States and southward, shearing the last ridgetops and […]

Unearthing Salamander Secrets

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“Unearthing Salamander Secrets” was published in the Defenders of Wildlife, September/October 1989.

“LONG associated with the clammy clutter in the pockets of small boys, salamanders are hard to glamorize. After all, they do live un­der rocks. They have names like ‘slimy’ and ‘shovelnose’ for reasons entirely deserved. Even scientific in­terest has been prejudiced. Writing about the class Amphibia to which salamanders belong, the great […]

In Rural Virginia, Yogaville is Simply Divine

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“In Rural Virginia, Yogaville is Simply Divine” was published in the The Washington Post, June 24, 1990.

“The shrine is shaped like a flower, but it pokes up from the meadow like the tip of a giant thumb. Huge pink petals, made of hundreds of thousands of tiny Italian tiles in shades ranging from white to rise, clasp a sky-blue dome that is crowned with a golden spire. […]

Concepts of Cougar

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“Concepts of Cougar” was published in the Wilderness Magazine, summer 1991.

“In the beginning was the lion. Images of leonine power are as ancient as the first scratchings on cave walls and as ambigu­ous as the Sphinx. Lions roam through the Bible, emissaries sometimes of God, sometimes of the Devil. From Aristotle’s attempts at empirical description to the fanciful symbolism of medieval bestiarists, the lion […]

The Lure of the Lion

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“The Lure of the Lion” was published in the The Washington […]

A Yukon Fish Camp for Visitors

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“A Yukon Fish Camp for Visitors” was published in the The New York Times, August 29, 1993.

“MY husband, Ralph, and I were on the banks of the Yukon Riv­er 1,500 miles from its source in Canada and 800 miles from its mouth at the Bering Sea. Surrounding us were hundreds of fish hang­ing on drying racks scattered through a thin grove of cottonwood trees. The filleted flesh lapped […]

The Great Forest

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“The Great Forest” was published in the Wilderness Magazine, spring 1994.

“Rage is not the politically correct emo­tion to feel in an old growth forest. Awe, veneration, respect, humility­, these are expected. But I want to pummel the furrowed bark with my fists, stamp my feet on the moldy ground, scream into the dappling canopy. I want to weep. The thought of the forests lost, […]

In Search of Your Own Private Idaho

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“In Search of Your Own Private Idaho” was published in the New York Times, August 21, 1994.

DEFENDING our territory – a fir­needle-strewn campsite near a lake – wasn’t what my husband and I had in mind for our trip last August to the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho, at 2.4 million acres the largest chunk of protect­ed wild land in the contiguous United States. […]

Daniel Boone Slept Here

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“Daniel Boone Slept Here” was published in Sierra Magazine, January/February 2000.

“Legend has it that Daniel Boone was asked if he had ever been lost during his decades of exploring uncharted wilderness. ‘No,’ replied America’s quintes­sential pioneer, ‘but I was plumb bewildered for a few days once.’ It could easily have been in Kentucky’s Red River Gorge. A dendritic maze of red sandstone canyons, the gorge would look like […]

Contemplating a Cougar Comeback: a Bioregional Venture into Carnivore Country

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“Contemplating a Cougar Comeback:  a Bioregional Venture into Carnivore Country” was published in Orion Afield, winter 2000-01.

“‘So THE MORAL OF THE STORY,’ said wildlife tracking instructor Susan Morse, ‘is always save some of your shit.’ We clustered around her to gaze at the item under discussion, which looked like a hairy Tootsie Roll. White petals of wild cherry blossoms flurried around us. Despite the mid-April date of this tracking […]

A Bend in the River

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“A Bend in the River” was published in Madison, The Magazine of James Madison University, summer 2007.

“In May 2003, several JMU professors and students formed the core of the first annual expedition known as The Shenandoah Sojourn. ‘It was an attempt to build a community around water,’ says Tom Benzing, pro­fessor of environmental toxicology in JMU’s integrated science and technology department, and the science leader of what was […]