Where I Go: The Garden Library I Grow

Before I Plant, I Curl up With My Favorite Ecologists, Journalists, and Victorian Naturalists

My gardening habit was born on the day my mother died. Grief-stricken beyond belief, and thinking that her boundless spirit might linger still in the sun-loving plants she had long nurtured, I dug dozens of them up and brought them all back to my place.

That summer, I planted my mother’s salvias, coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, coreopsis, yarrows, sedums, verbenas, and asters where they were never meant to be—in the shade. Over that first year as I treaded, unskilled but earnestly, into gardening, those vibrant creatures (probably endowed with just enough of …

Where I Go: Atop San Francisco’s ‘Redwood Empire’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: Atop San Francisco’s ‘Redwood Empire’

For Nearly 30 Years, I’ve Come to the City’s Highest Natural Point to Orient Myself

At 938 feet above sea level, Mount Davidson is the highest natural point in San Francisco. And for nearly 30 years, since I was a child, it has been my …

Why Americans Need to Believe in Bigfoot

The ‘Monster Roaming the Countryside’ Helped Lure Us Back Into Nature

Why are Americans so devoted to Bigfoot?

You can find Bigfoot everywhere. Its image adorns coffee cups, T-shirts, bumper stickers, bottle openers, and other sundries. Bigfoot is the Canadian-American version of …

How Our View of National Parks Shapes American Identity

What We Seek and Find in Our Sacred Environments Reflects Our Country’s Character

Few natural regions have been photographed as often, or in such varied ways, as the American West. Many of these alluring, emotionally resonant landscapes lie within the boundaries of national …

Nature Needs Greater Diversity—In Its Human Visitors

Drawing More Non-Whites Into Parks and Natural Areas Requires Changes in Access, Staffing, Recruitment—and Narratives

“Is nature only for white people?” was the deliberately provocative query that framed a Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County panel discussion. It was quickly dispensed with by the …

Why Americans Invented the RV

In 1915, New Creature Comforts Created by Technology Merged with the Back to Nature Movement

On August 21, 1915, the Conklin family departed Huntington, New York on a cross-country camping trip in a vehicle called the “Gypsy Van.” Visually arresting and cleverly designed, the …