I am a freelance writer and editor based in the lower Connecticut River Valley. My beat starts at the intersection of ordinary American life and the natural environment. I write about climate change and how people cope with it, backcountry adventure, and American history.
I was born in downtown Philadelphia in the last year of the baby boomers. My father was at a business lunch during my birth and got the news when the waiter brought a telephone to the table. I grew up mostly in Princeton, New Jersey. I share the label "writer who graduated from Princeton High School" with John McPhee and Laura Waterman.
I learned journalism at the Daily Pennsylvanian at the University of Pennsylvania. For 18 years I worked for newspapers large, small, and middle-sized, in Philadelphia; Mount Kisco, New York; and New London, Connecticut. I became a freelancer in 2000.I am writing a book about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. During the dark days of the Great Depression they secretly collaborated on the "Little House" books. They captured the crazy days of the frontier, from 1870 to 1885, as a hopeful story that changed the way Americans view pioneers.
I have written at least 100 articles for The New York Times—many of them about the coast and landscape of Connecticut, but some about wider topics like hiking with little daughters. My articles about climate change, energy, water, and backcountry adventure are published in magazines and websites, including Audubon, Popular Mechanics Online, the Washington Post, Connecticut Explored magazine, the Hartford Courant, the Connecticut Mirror, Nature Climate Change, and the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, for which I write regularly. I wrote a book about energy for ordinary people: Energy Independence (Lyons Press, 2006 and 2009), describing why fossil fuel rules and how an ordinary citizen can conserve energy, use the sun, wind, wood, and geothermal heat, and make sense of hybrid cars.
Twenty-six years ago I backpacked 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail with my husband Nat Eddy and friends Phil and Cay Lodine. At our silver anniversary slide-show and dinner in 2012, we agreed that I had struggled the most and changed the most—and that those changes still ride messily on my sleeve today. The AT thru-hike (which about 5,000 people have done) amounted to a master's degree in the subject "woman against the natural world." At the end of that four and a half months of constant hunger and foot pain, we all emerged respecting natural tempests and civilization's inventions: thunderstorms, insects, wind, running water, sewage treatment. Life has never looked the same. I have never felt uncomfortable one day since that summer of 1987.
Welcome to my work world! Stay as long as you like. The light's always on here. Start with the Woodside Field Guide.