Susan E. Quinlan
I am a person who loves being out in nature, seeing and identifying all the creatures that inhabit our world, and learning as much as I can about the ecosystems I live in or visit. I think that qualifies me as a naturalist.
My love of nature comes from many years spent hiking, camping and exploring outdoors, both as a child and later as an adult. I earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and an M.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
I spent many years conducting field research on seabirds, songbirds, and migratory shorebirds and waterfowl in remote areas of Alaska, working for both state and federal wildlife agencies. In my years as a government-employed biologist, I authored scientific papers, interpretive brochures, and award-winning conservation curricula for schools. Later, while working as a naturalist guide with Lindblad Expeditions, I was fortunate enough to explore a wide range of environments, from deserts to rainforests, the high arctic to Antarctica.
My work as a field researcher and guide went by the wayside after my husband and I adopted two children. I spent my children's early years trying to balance my life as a mom with work as a freelance writer and illustrator. I taught classes on birds and plants to teachers, authored four award-winning science books, and created a good number of interpretive signs and guides about nature.
Unlike some moms who can "do it all," I got a bit over-whelmed when we added a move from Alaska to Colorado, building a new home here, the needs of my aging parents, and a near full time job as a computer programmer into the mix. For several years, life demanded a different focus from me, so birding, plant identification, reading scientific journals, writing books, and creating art mostly got relegated to stolen moments, early in the morning, late at night, and here and there on family outings or in preparation for occasional classroom presentations.
Today, my children are striking out on their own, both my parents have passed away, and our house is as finished as any owner-builder home ever is. So I am here, opening a new chapter in my life, re-focusing back on my first loves: nature, science, and art.
My goal now is to create more books and art to share my love of nature and science with others. In addition to writing and illustrating, I enjoy giving presentations about nature to adults and children.
Hopefully, my work in all its forms will help others discover, or teach about, the beauty and mysteries of nature and develop the deep love and concern for our planet that is so desperately needed if we are to ensure a long future for wild creatures and human life.