Hi, I’m Alison! I write about human-wildlife coexistence and human relationships with nature.
I am a self-proclaimed ‘almost anthropologist’ because I ALMOST read, think, and write like an anthropologist…but not quite. I love anthropology and have two degrees in it, but I am also interested in wildlife conservation, environmental education, religion, writing, yoga, mindfulness and more. Sometimes my perspective tends more toward the spiritual/creative realm than the scientific.
As an educator I have taught school, environmental, and zoo programs for all ages. I am the Education Associate at The Clifton Institute, an environmental non-profit organization in northern Virginia. I am also a certified National Geographic Educator.
I am the creator of the Mindful Naturalists programs at The Clifton Institute. I developed the series as a combination my interests in nature and yoga/mindfulness practices. Each month, I design a new program to inspire mindful observation and nature appreciation with themes such as: Birding Like Buddha, Hiking Meditation, Songs of Dusk, Nature Yoga, Trees are our Teachers, and Haiku Hike.
As a writer, I am working on a children’s book about an inter-species primate friendship. I am also writing a nonfiction book about the Silver River macaques in central Florida, and I dabble in haiku. I encourage people to write about their encounters with wildlife and share the result on social media with the hashtag #leaveonlypoetry.
Current research projects:
- Human perceptions of wildlife in Fauquier County, Virginia
- Portrayal of nonhuman primates in North American children’s literature
- Behavior, habitat use, and inter-species interactions of beavers and other aquatic pond mammals (muskrat, otter, mink) using camera traps (informal study) at The Clifton Institute
Past research projects:
- Crop raiding/feeding behavior of moor macaques (Macaca maura) and human-wildlife conflict in South Sulawesi, Indonesia (Here is a blog I co-wrote with my friend and colleague, KT Hanson, from the field!)
- Infant development and parental care in captive mongoose lemurs (Eulemur mongoz) at the Lemur Conservation Foundation
- Maintenance of cultural and religious identity within a Thai Buddhist community in Tampa, Florida