Fifty Years of Writing the Chesapeake. I’ll weave together my experiences as an environmental/nature writer with short readings that illustrate my evolving life in letters along the shores of my native Chesapeake.
Early in my career I asked a Bay waterman, drifting his gill nets on the tide, “what kind of fish are down there right now?” He replied it was “all accordin’ to what size meshes were woven into his net—one size and it would catch smallish white perch; another and he’d come up with big rockfish…..
So I came to appreciate that ‘seeing’ nature depended on ‘how you sized your meshes’, i.e. what lenses, preconceptions, biases you approached your subject with.
I’ll talk about learning to “think like a watershed”, influenced more by beavers than writing workshops; about the experiences that shaped my thinking and seem to ring truest and best after a lifetime of observation.
is an Eastern Shore Native who was the Baltimore Sun’s environmental reporter and columnist between 1972 and 2006. He is author of several books on Chesapeake Bay. His writing has taken him from the Amazon to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and has appeared in National Geographic, Rolling Stone, the New York Times Sunday Magazine and other publications. He teaches at Salisbury University and writes for the monthly, Bay Journal.