Pyle, Robert Michael
2011, 2012, 2013
Robert Michael Pyle was born and raised in Colorado but for thirty-three years has lived along, studied, and written about southwest Washington State, with his wife, artist and botanist Thea Linnaea Pyle. He taught at a couple dozen Summits from the early 1970’s to 1998, and again in 2011. He has worked as Ranger-Naturalist for Sequoia National Park, Lepidoptera conservation consultant in Papua New Guinea, Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, and co-manager of the Species Conservation Monitoring Center of the World Wildlife Fund and IUCN in Cambridge, U.K. In 1971, he founded the international Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and later chaired its Monarch Project.
For thirty years, Pyle has been an independent, full-time biologist, writer, teacher, and speaker. He has published over five hundred articles, essays, papers, stories, and poems His sixteen books include Wintergreen, The Thunder Tree, Where Bigfoot Walks, Chasing Monarchs, Walking the High Ridge, Sky Time in Gray’s River, and Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year; as well as The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, The Butterflies of Cascadia, and several other standard butterfly works. They have been awarded the John Burroughs Medal, a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Governor’s Writer’s Awards, a Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Harry Nehls Award for Nature Writing, and the National Outdoor Book Award for natural history literature, and have been runner-up for the Orion, Green, PNBA, and Washington Book Awards.
Pyle’s popular essay-column, “The Tangled Bank,” appeared in fifty-two consecutive issues of Orion Magazine and Orion Afield, and has recently come out in book form from Oregon State University Press as The Tangled Bank: Writings from Orion. A Colorado novel, Magdalena Mountain, is on deck, along with collections of poems, stories, and selected essays, and several scientific papers on monarchs and other butterflies.
Bob Pyle has taught writing and natural history seminars for many conferences, institutes, and colleges around the world, and presented hundreds of invited lectures and keynote addresses. In recent years he has served as Visiting Professor of Environmental Writing at Utah State University; as Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Montana; and as place-based writing instructor from Alabama to Alaska, Tajikistan to Tasmania, and beyond.
Named Distinguished Alumnus by the forestry schools of both the University of Washington and Yale University, Pyle also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. For thirty-three years he has lived along, studied, and written about Gray’s River, a tributary of the Lower Columbia River, in the Willapa Hills of southwest Washington. He and his wife, weaver and botanist Thea Linnaea Pyle, have four grandchildren.