The summers of my childhood and teenage years were spent in wilderness areas in the western US doing research with my father. We spent the summer of 1983 in the Uintas during an extremely rainy summer finishing up his dissertation project. I slept in a wet sleeping bag and ate freeze dried food for more than six weeks. We finally published the data from that project four years ago. Spending so much time in those beautiful places and being surrounded by biology filled me with curiosity and a love of the natural world. At some point I realized my Dad was getting paid to do what most people do for vacation. So many times I’ve sat under a sugar maple, aspen or Joshua tree forest, eating my lunch unable to believe I get paid to do this.
I completed my undergraduate and MS degrees at Brigham Young University studying lichens as biomonitors of air quality. My Ph.D work focused on the impacts of soil acidification on the physiology and ecology of the eastern deciduous forest. I studied climate change impacts on grasslands of northern California as a postdoctoral researcher. Since coming back to Utah I have started major research projects in aspen-conifer forests and Mojave and Great Basin deserts.
I love reading, especially with my kids and I have a fairly serious passion for mountain biking.