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.

In March of 2010 I became a full-time independent non-fiction writer. (Prior to that I did 50 percent freelance and 50 percent staff writing since Oct. 2009, and prior to that I was in graduate school from 2005-2008.) I recently completed my first book, a narrative about the highly endangered red wolf, which was released in June by the University of North Carolina Press. I have written for the Sci-Tech pages of The Observer, a newspaper in Charlotte, N.C.; several university research magazines, and I’ve contributed to Slate.com, Wildlife in North Carolina, the Loh Down on Science radio program, OnEarth magazine’s blog, and the Orlando Sentinel’s  (former) Travel Section. I’m a member of the National Association of Science Writers, where I volunteer on the Freelance Committee; and I’m a member of the International League of Conservation Writers.

Write to me at: DeLene {at} nasw {dot} org


All content © 2012 by DeLene Beeland