"... I am fighting for my future... I am here to speak for all generations to come… I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go…. I'm only a child yet I know we are all part of a family, five billion strong, in fact, 30 million species strong and we all share the same air, water and soil --borders and governments will never change that..."
--Severn Cullis-Suzuki, UN Earth Summit, Rio, Brazil 1992
The most exciting thing I'm working on right now is a proposal for a Scientists in the Field book about the Jamaican iguana. I went to Jamaica in June to follow Dr. Stesha Pasachnik, leading iguana biologist in the West Indies on her work to save the Jamaican iguana.
Here is Stesha watching some headstart babies at the Hope Zoo.
And that's Jodi-Ann, head-keeper of reptiles,
holding one of the Jamaican iguana babies. I think Jodi-Ann and I
were sisters in a past life, because when it comes to reptile love,
we are the same.
Soon I am going to Roatan, Honduras for the Iguana Specialist Group conference. I'm gathering images and ideas for the next book(s)!
For a few years I was working on a YA novel where the main character is a 19-year-old girl who has moved to L.A. and starts working as an exotic dancer. She has no college degree, no job skills, and the rent is due. She also signs up for acting classes. Those are the circumstances, but what is the story really about? Maybe I won’t know until it is written. Right now, I suspect that it is the story of so many young people trying to find their way –their own way—in this chaotic world where there is no time to be still and figure it out. Without fully knowing what she is doing, my character is trying to set up her life so that she can connect with that still, quiet place inside herself, where there is true information about what she needs to do to find fulfillment.
BUT...as I write about in a personal essay titled NOBODY LOVES RATTLESNAKES, published in Talking Writing, the YA novel really needs to be a memoir about my life with reptiles! The title is: HALF LIZARD
I have written a few other things in the past several years: Two op eds for CNN, one on rattlesnake roundups and another on saving Goat Islands in Jamaica. While working on the Goat Islands story, I became acquainted with the photographer Robin Moore, who is doing some fantastic conservation work. He asked me to review his new book, In Search of Lost Frogs. Here are the links:
Book Review: In Search of Lost Frogs FrogLog, November 3 2014 pp. 9-11
Jamaica selling out its paradise
CNN Opinion, Wed July 2, 2014
'Rattlesnake Roundup' teaches cruelty is fun
CNN Opinion, Wed April 9, 2014
This is a wood turtle. I found her at the edge of the road, pacing, wanting to cross, but scared since she got hit by a car. I took her to my friend, Kathy Michell (she is working to protect Timber Rattlesnakes, too), and she repaired the shell and took care of the turtle until she healed. You can see the mended break in the plastron (belly shell) to the left, just beside her foot. We took this picture right before I took her back to where I found her, because wood turtles must stay within a few miles of their ancestral stream where they hibernate.
I'm a member of a couple of really cool groups on Facebook: Cyclura Friends and RARR, Rise Against Rattlesnake Roundups. Cyclura Friends is a forum for people who love lizards of the genus Cyclura. The lizards I have now are all from that genus. We have a lot of fun sharing stories and photos of our lizards. We also discuss what we learn about giving our animals the best care --spoiling them whenever possible-- and we advocate education about and conservation of iguanas in the wild.