Robert Michael Pyle

Robert Michael Pyle's undergraduate degree from the University of Washington was perhaps the only one ever awarded in the field of Nature Perception and Protection. His master's in Nature Interpretation was followed by a doctorate in Ecology and Environmental Studies from Yale University. He worked for the wildlife department of Papua New Guinea, as Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, and as compiler of the first Invertebrate Red Data Book for the World Wildlife Fund and IUCN. In 1971 he founded the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and later chaired its Monarch Project. The Society for Conservation Biology awarded Pyle a Distinguished Service Award in 1993. For many years he has been a full-time writer and independent biologist and teacher, having taught for NCI since the beginning. His fifteen books include Wintergreen (winner of the John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing), The Thunder Tree, Where Bigfoot Walks (subject of a Guggenheim Fellowship), Chasing Monarchs, and Walking the High Ridge, as well as The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies, The Butterflies of Cascadia, and several other standard butterfly works. His most recent book, Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place, won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award for natural history literature and was a finalist for the Orion and Washington Book Awards. His column, "The Tangled Bank," appeared in 52 consecutive issues of Orion Magazine. Pyle was named Distinguished Alumnus by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2008. He lives along a tributary of the Lower Columbia River in southwest Washington with his wife, Thea Linnaea Pyle, and he has recently completed the first nationwide Butterfly Big Year for a new book.