In addition to my academic writing, I also regularly write blog essays, newspaper columns, and magazine articles for a wide audience. Since 2012, I’ve contributing to the City Creatures environmental humanities project led by the Center for Humans and Nature as an essayist and blogger for this ongoing exploration of human-animal encounters in Chicago’s urbanized landscape. My City Creatures essays include:
- Commonplace Nature, Close at Hand: Thinking about Leonard Dubkin as Spring Emerges (19 May 2014)
- Wildlife in Chicago and Fracking in Southern Illinois: Ecological and Human Connections (2 Dec 2013)
- To Apprehend the Wild, Don’t Forget the Kids (18 March 2013)
- Canoes, Cities, and the Creatures of Bubbly Creek (2 Aug 2012)
In September of 2014, I joined a group of writers convened by Gavin Van Horn (of the Center for Humans and Nature in Chicago) and John Hausdoerffer (a professor at Western State Colorado University and the director of WSCU’s Headwaters Project) for a writers’ retreat in the beautiful mountain town of Crested Butte, CO.
Here the invited writers gathered to share conversation, ideas, outlines, and initial jottings as a means of kicking off a book project to be co-edited by Gavin and John called Wildness (subsequently published by the Univ. of Chicago Press, 2017). I collaborated with Chicago conservationist and community activist Michael Howard, co-founder and executive director of Eden Place Nature Center in the Chicago neighborhood of Fuller Park, on an essay entitled “Cultivating the Wild on Chicago’s South Side: Stories of People and Nature at Eden Place Nature Center” (pdf).
Previous urban nature writing projects include the May 2010 cover story, “Rediscover the Chicago River,” for Mindful Metropolis magazine in collaboration with photographer Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee. In the spring of 2011, we again collaborated on Ryan’s book, While Wandering: Chicago, for which I wrote the introductory text.
Here in my hometown of Joliet, Illinois, I penned a monthly column on environmental, political, and cultural issues for the Opinions page of the Joliet Herald-News, the local daily paper, from June 2006 to September 2013. You can read my collected columns for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (as pdf documents) and check out the Joliet section of this blog for expanded versions of these columns since February 2011. As of January 2014, the paper was sold from the Sun-Times Media Group to Shaw Media, and for now is no longer publishing the “Common Sense” column by local citizen-journalists.
For blog essays on a variety of other topics, see the Categories index at right. For more information on my research and academic writings, as well as links to selected articles and presentations, please see the Research and Presentations links above.