Have you ever wanted to travel the world?
Bet you wish your careers advisor told you about conservation biology.
So, placing a ceremonial flower garland around her neck, we are delighted to announce that Autumn Sartain is now our Nature Guru. Celebrating with a glass of homemade lemonade, we asked her a few questions…
So you’ve always been an outdoorsy kind of person, right?
Yes, I love being out in nature because it reminds me of who I am in some sort of deep, primal way.
When I was a kid I was definitely a tomboy and loved being outside. Before the age of the internet I would climb trees and go “exploring” (as my brothers and I called it) through the acres of desert around my grandmother’s house in Arizona. I remember walking through a forest once and seeing what seemed like thousands of bright red ladybugs on the side of a mossy tree. I was captivated. I still am.
But although I’ve traveled a lot, I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as happy as during moments of quiet and sunshine in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
I love that Guru is all about making science fun and accessible. Science, particularly nature and wildlife-based science, has massively increased my quality of life and I enjoy sharing that passion with others. I can only hope others will be as fascinated as I am with all our natural world has to offer.
I’m still working in science, getting outside as much as possible, and writing. In addition to contributing to Guru, I have various other writing projects, including a non-fiction work-in-progress on animal migrations.
We hear that you used to be a novelist?!
No, not really! When I was 10 I wanted to publish a book. I secretly stayed up late diligently working on what I believed was my soon-to-be national bestseller, “Fred the Fly” – an epic tale of adventure and inevitable disaster (flies only live so long after all). I was disappointed when, ultimately, the publisher kindly declined my story that I had carefully handwritten on lined paper.
I continue to write now and have co-authored a guidebook on the birds of Madagascar (you can read more in the lead article of Issue 13, Feathers and Muddy Boots).
Finally, if you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
I think I’d be a red-tailed hawk. Their call is one of my favorite sounds and to me it’s the sound of the wilderness. (Also, whenever you hear an ‘eagle’ in movies or TV shows, it’s really this bird.) Plus, how awesome would it be to soar and fly and see things miles away? Oh, and courting involves clasping talons with your partner in the air and plummeting in spirals toward the ground. Who could resist that?
Autumn Sartain writes about biology, conservation, and the environmental / outdoor lifestyle. She holds a Master’s degree in Biology and has worked in the science world since 2004 on various ecosystems and species, currently focusing on sea turtle research. She also loves practicing yoga, eating burritos, and rock climbing.