Photos of prairie fire and monarch butterfly by LeAnn Spencer and Steve Duke
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.
Patricia Cronin is co-director of The Writers WorkSpace, www.writersworkspace.com, a membership-based work and meeting space for writers of all genres, located in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. Her fiction has appeared in a variety of literary magazines including Fish Stories, Quarterly West, Jane’s Stories II, and online at ContraryMagazine.com. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University.
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.
Norbert Krapf is a native of southern Indiana who has returned to his home state after 34 years on the East Coast. His most recent publication is a collaboration with Indiana photographer Darryl Jones, Invisible Presence. His next publication will be a prose memoir, The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood, followed by Sweet Sister Moon, love poems and tributes to women. For more information, visit www.krapfpoetry.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.”
Victoria McOmie was born on an island off the coast of Washington and now lives in Ashland, Oregon. She is a graduate of Lewis and Clark College in Portland with a major in Art and English. She has been a full-time artist since 1992. Growing up in a rural area and coming from a family interested in the arts, she developed a curiosity for art and nature. Curiosity continues to be the force that fuels her projects about nature, art and the inspiration they provoke in people. In the last several years, her work has consisted of outdoor, temporary site-specific installation art. An important part of her process is the use of digital tools (photography and video), to document her work. The combination of found materials along with photography and video can produce an echo of an encounter with a particular landscape. To make her work accessible to more people, she recently began working on indoor installations that are more easily viewed and longer lasting. More information can be found at www.arttree.com.
Susan L. Moore is an Assistant Professor at Indiana University, South Bend, where she coordinates the photography area. Susan received a BA from Columbia College in Chicago in 1991, a Master's in Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998, and most recently, in 2003, she earned an MFA from Washington University, School of Art. Her photography has been exhibited regionally and nationally in individual shows as well as juried exhibitions. She recently received a grant from the Indiana Arts Commission to support her landscape photography project. For more views of Moore’s work, visit her website: www.slmoore.com
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.