|"The Green Man of Gray's |
Robert Michael Pyle was born and raised in Colorado and has lived in the Pacific Northwest, California, New England, and Great Britain. His undergraduate degree in Nature Perception and Protection and Master of Science in Nature Interpretation from the University of Washington were followed by a doctorate in Ecology and Environmental Studies from Yale University. He has worked as a Ranger-Naturalist for Sequoia National Park, for the wildlife department of Papua New Guinea, as Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, and as 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 a full-time freelance writer, teacher, speaker, and biologist. His fifteen books include Wintergreen (John Burroughs medal), The Thunder Tree, Where Bigfoot Walks, Chasing Monarchs, Walking the High Ridge, and Sky Time in Gray’s River as well as The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies and several other standard butterfly works. They have won 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, the National Outdoor Book Award for natural history literature, and have been finalists for the Orion and Washington Book Awards. His latest book, Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year, as runner-up for a 2011 Green Book Award. A novel, Magdalena Mountain, is in progress along with collections of poems and essays. Pyle's popular essay-column, “The Tangled Bank,” appeared in fifty-two consecutive issues of Orion Magazine. He recently placed second for the Obsidian Fiction Prize, judged by Gretel Ehrlich, and fourth in the Idaho Prize for Poetry.
In recent years he has served as Visiting Professor of Environmental Writing at Utah State University, Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer at the University of Montana, and place-based writing instructor for the Aga Khan Trust for the Humanities in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
He has been named Distinguished Alumnus by both the College of Forest Resources at the University of Washington and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and received a Distinguished Service Award from The Society for Conservation Biology. For thirty years he has lived along Gray's River, a tributary of the Lower Columbia River in southwest Washington State, with his wife, artist and botanist Thea Linnaea Pyle.