Category Archives: Journalism


Red Bull for the Creek

Originally published as “To Save the Rivers and the Woods, Try Hurling a Few Dead Fish” by Mother Jones, August 9, 2017.  One cool September day, I visited a fish hatchery in Sweet Home, Oregon, a lumber town in the foothills of the Cascades east of Corvallis. I […]

Cassia crossbill

Cross-country: The Discovery, and Probable Disappearance, of North America’s Newest Bird

Published as “The West’s newest bird species has a beak like a crowbar” in High Country News on July 12. 2017.  At 6:30 one morning in early July, Craig Benkman, a University of Wyoming ecologist, began to stalk red crossbills in the South Hills of […]

Pouring on salt

The Afterlife

From Kenyon Review, July/August 2016. A salmon’s second journey begins with its “collection.” At the Cole M. Rivers Hatchery north of Medford, Oregon, the crowder is drawn through the holding pond once a week, May through August, pushing the fish toward the rear, toward the […]

From The Missouri Review

The Edge Effect

Surfing with Peregrine Falcons in La Jolla. From The Missouri Review 36.4, Winter 2013. Listed as a notable essay in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014. Photo album below. In early June, I found myself trailing Will Sooter to his office. Past the University […]

From High Country News

The Salt Pond Puzzle

From the August 6, 2012 issue of High Country News. Photo album below. We were on patrol. Caitlin Robinson-Nilsen, a young biologist in shades and a ponytail, steered the 4WD Explorer along a muddy levee in Fremont, Calif., and I rode shotgun, staying vigilant. She […]

John Deshler in Forest Park

Big Girl

From July 13, 2012 in High Country News. A few additional photos below. On his first Father’s Day as a parent, John Deshler is in Portland’s Forest Park. When I called several days ago, he was checking on a northern pygmy-owl nest site, carrying 5-month […]

Phoenix from Aberdeen Bestiary

A Long Flame of Wings

An online exclusive from Audubon magazine. In 1969 the Ad Council produced a Smokey the Bear campaign announcement that begins, “In the time it takes to grow a tree, you can grow a country.” As the camera slowly pans up a tall ponderosa pine, famous […]

From High Country News


From the Dec 7, 2010 issue of High Country News. A small album below. At the southeast edge of San Francisco Bay lies a town on the threshold of disappearing. Its actual thresholds are already gone. In the evening light, the chaparral ridge above Fremont […]

Gold Ray Dam Demolition

Dam Removal for Dummies

From the November 8, 2010 issue of High Country News. Up and down the West Coast, people are discovering the joy of dam removal: From 2007 to 2009, 11 came down in California, nine in Oregon, and five in Washington, mainly for the sake of […]


Goat Blog Posts

From the staff blog of High Country News. — In defense of a rock Serpentine’s on CA’s chopping block / Jul 21, 2010 Jumping (to) the gun Another wolf saga, this time in Oregon / Jul 07, 2010 Big Plan on Campus Stanford offers up […]

Hartner's Point

Case in Point

From the July 19, 2010 issue of High Country News. LeeAnn Hartner strolled into the Utah State University Museum of Anthropology one Saturday in April holding a weathered 9 mm cartridge box. “I think I’ve got something real neat,” she told the small, expectant crowd […]

Bark Beetle Burrows

An Infestation of the Imagination

From the June 21, 2010 issue of High Country News. Halfway through 7th grade, Reagan McGuire quit school and became a pool shark. His father and grandfather were boxers, and McGuire, who inherited their taste for fisticuffs, turned to the tables to stay out of […]