Fall-Winter 2006

Fall 2006 - Contributing Editors and Artists

Editor and publisher

LeAnn Spencer, the founder of A Prairie Journal, is a journalist with nearly 30 years of experience at the Chicago Tribune as an editor and writer. While there she wore many hats, but one of the most satisfying was during her years as an environmental reporter. Since 2003, she has been a regular contributor to Chicago Wilderness Magazine and a private publishing consultant. Her love for the natural world stems to her childhood on an Indiana farm. In the last 15 years, she has explored the positive influences of the human-animal-nature connection by working as a volunteer using therapy dogs to assist children in hospitals, schools and residential facilities. In her spare time, she’s a novice bird watcher and enjoys a part-time career as a professional harpist. She has a Master’s of Liberal Arts degree from the University of Chicago, a B.A. in journalism from Indiana University, and is enrolled in the naturalist certificate program at the Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois. 


Cindy Crosby is the author of several books on nature and spirituality, including By Willoway Brook, published by Paraclete Press. As a fulltime freelance writer, her work has appeared in such publications as Publishers Weekly, Books & Culture, Chicago Wilderness Magazine, and the Mars Hill Review. An avid backpacker, she served as artist-in-residence at Isle Royale National Park in 2005 and teaches workshops on nature journaling. Cindy is a prairie volunteer and docent at the Morton Arboretum, where she has taught nature writing classes. She and her husband Jeff live in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.

Liz Cockrum received a BFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago in 2006. She has been the recipient of a Jack Jaffe Scholarship, Weisman Memorial Scholarships,the John Mulvany Merit Award, and was a winner in Photo District News Magazine’s annual photo competition in 2006. Since 2003, Liz has been exploring the dramatic changes in the suburban landscape caused by development. Her work has been widely exhibited in Chicago, including group shows at the Glass Curtain Gallery, the Olympia Center, and FlatFile Galleries. More information on her work and her project can be found at her website, www.lizcockrum.com

Freelance photographer Jerry Kumery has focused an artist’s eye on the landscape since 1979. An avid birdwatcher, Jerry picked up the camera to record the natural world where spends so much of his time. Jerry especially likes to shoot in the early morning “when the light is magic” and gives a special quality to the landscape. “You have to pay attention,” he said. “Within five minutes, the light is gone.” 

Darsha Primich loves reading and nature. She has combined these interests recently in the Naturalist Certificate program at the Morton Arboretum. In the past, her writing consisted primarily of social work reports, notations, and correspondence, during more than two decades in that helping profession. Now, she is writing poems, stories, and essays. While it might seem like a leap in logic from social work to nature writing, she has observed that human beingsshare both an ordinariness and complexity withwild things in other natural systems.By exploring woodlands, prairies,wetlands and streams, she has been able to further appreciate human nature.

Erin Tuttle has a B.A. in English from Hope College, is finishing a graduate degree in theology from Regent College, and is working on a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum. Erin enjoys digging in the dirt, driving ramshackle vehicles, and spending time in her backyard with her three hens.  Someday, maybe she’ll compile a book of all her odd stories, but until then, you can find her among the big bluestem and silphium of Schulenburg Prairie, or wandering through the woods with her eyes fixed in the trees.  Just don’t trip her when she’s in this state.