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Africa Travels & Recent Essays


In January Susan and I traveled to Tanzania, for a safari and, magnificently, several days with the chimpanzees of Mahale along Lake Tanganyika.

Please check out the photos of chimpanzees and other wildlife in the Africa gallery.

If you love animals, you gotta go to Africa.  And I did.  I spend July 2013 in Uganda, with PLU student Nevis Granum.  We were part of a four-person team, releasing 17 confiscated and rescued African grey parrots back to the wild. 

Who else was on the team?  None other than Dr. Jane Goodall!  It was an amazing and exhilarating experience on every level.  We had dinner with Dr. Goodall, conversation, even a campfire. The parrots were the last survivors of 108 birds confiscated three years ago in Bulgaria.  Watch for articles on what I learned from this incredibly meaningful experience.


The month in Uganda included gorilla trekking--amazing!  I'm preparing a proposal now for Smithsonian magazine, as well as lions and chimpanzees in the wild.  We also saw amazing birds--Uganda has over 1000 species (for a country the size of Oregon--all of North America has about 800 species of birds).  Below is the link to my essay on Slate.com, as well as a link to an article in PLU Scene magazine (cover story) on our adventures. Then, a trip to Oregon with Dr. Julie Smith to study red crossbills, beautiful birds that show evolution in action--the process of species forming.  This will be written for BirdWatching magazine.


Enjoy the photos, and here are links to recent essays and articles.

"Jane Goodall and I Set Free the Smartest Birds in the World"

An essay on Slate.com about the historic release of African grey parrots in Uganda, and the way the legal trade supports a thriving illegal trade in parrots.


"Finally Free to Fly"

The cover story on the winter 2014 PLU Scene magazine. 


"Mothers and Other Creatures"

A personal essay in BioStories, about an owl and my mother.

"Nature Is a Story that We Live"

An essay in ISLE, a journal for environmental literature and writing, about teaching the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in Antarctica, with living albatrosses commenting on the literary albatross in the poem. 

"No Fly Zone"

An investigative article in All Animals magazine, for the Humane Society,  on the huge problem with parrots as pets, and the way they are frequently abandoned and relinquished by their owners.  "Owl v. Owl"

A story on Slate.com--the horrible dilemma of the conflict between the endangered spotted owl and it's invasive, aggressive, relentless cousin, the barred owl in the Pacific Northwest. I also published a longer piece on this conflict in BirdWatching magazine last summer.