I was born in Palo Alto, California, but moved often with my family to such far-flung places as Kodiak Island, Alaska, and Wiesbaden, Germany. After earning my B.A. in Classical Civilization at UC Santa Barbara and my M.A. in Aegean and Anatolian Prehistory at Bristol University in England, I served as a ranger-naturalist in the National Park Service for seven years. A chance assignment led to a freelance career writing interpretive natural histories for regional publishers and leading study tours in the West for the Smithsonian National Associates Program and other clients.
I now live in Flagstaff, Arizona, with my husband, photographer Tom Bean. Here I write for regional conservation groups as well as on assignment for various publishers, keep an almanac of nearly two hundred wildflower species in the woods around my home, and serve as Conservation Chair for the Flagstaff Chapter of the Arizona Native Plant Society. I teach occasional workshops at Northern Arizona University and elsewhere.
In 1988, I founded the Arizona Natural History Association to foster understanding and appreciation of Arizona's national forests through non-profit bookshops and programs.
After mentoring several young people in the distressed neighborhoods of San Francisco and Flagstaff, Tom and I founded Bread for the Journey of Flagstaff in 1998 to provide small grants and support to community-building endeavors across northern Arizona including the Apache, Hopi, Havasupai, Hualapai, and Navajo nations.