About Me

(Photo by Camilla Calnan/www.camiphoto.com 2012)

(Photo by Camilla Calnan/www.camiphoto.com 2012)

It was my love for wild nature that led me back to science. As a child, I trolled for redfish in the Gulf of Mexico with my parents. In winter, we slogged across mudflats in the freezing dawn for stone crabs, and in fall we donned masks and snorkels and floated over shallow grass flats to scoop up scallops. On dry land, I explored our small backyard and developed an affinity for plants and animals.

In college, I started out as a general biology major with a vague idea of going into marine biology. Over the course of many semesters and two colleges, I flitted between physical anthropology, geology, art and architecture. After a few years of professional work in the real world, I returned to graduate school with a single idea: to explore all my loves and interests through the lens of writing. Why choose just one field, when I have an entire lifetime to write about all?

I began writing about natural history and evolution as a graduate student, at the University of Florida, when I was hired as a staff science writer to cover breaking science news and on-going research at the Florida Museum of Natural History. My graduate studies blended education in natural resources management and ecology with training in journalism. My job with the museum taught me how to apply what I was learning and to practice the craft of science writing. My work at the Florida Museum also taught me invaluable lessons about breaking down primary research for general audiences and how to interview scientists. My job entailed roaming through 20 different research collections, sifting for interesting science stories that were published in a member edition of Natural History magazine or on their website. Frankly, I was amazed that the university paid me to shoot the breeze with esteemed paleontologists and archaeologists. I basically sniffed around and asked them questions about the piles of fossil fragments on their counters or the carefully labeled specimen baggies arranged in orderly rows. Our talks ultimately shaped the lens through which I view wildlife conservation today, because these museum scientists gave me first-hand insight to the longitudinal time perspective of geological history and how species adapt, evolve, speciate and radiate while the very land around them shifted shape and position on the planet.

Today, I am learning more about narrative journalism and how to bring this craft into my writings about science. My first book, The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf was published in June 2013 by the University of North Carolina Press. My professional memberships include the following organizations: the National Association for Science Writers, the Society of Environmental Journalists, The Author’s Guild, and the International League of Conservation Writers.

Write to me at delene{at}nasw.org, or visit my professional writing web site, www.delene.us.

Thanks for stopping by,