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My first love was a horned toad that lived in my backyard in Albuquerque. It disappeared over winter, emerged in spring, and showed me that nature changes over time. Throughout childhood, I yearned to share that lizard's world with others.

In college I studied environmental interpretation. Afterward, at the newly created Ohio EPA, I funded programs that regulated scrubbers in coal-fired power plants and improved sewage treatment facilities. Later, as a science teacher, I set the lab tables with a new narrative each morning. Monday’s tale might compare skeletons; Tuesday’s could mimic a lunar eclipse.

When climate change became the biggest nature story, I signed on as a reporter in the Eastern Sierra. Now, forest fires rage and drought starves our snowpack and water supply. I need epic writing muscle. I work out every day.