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. After graduation, Bob 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, Pyle founded the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and later chaired its Monarch Project.

For many years, Pyle has been a full-time writer, independent biologist and teacher, having taught for North Cascades since our founding in 1986. 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 MonarchsSky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place (winner of the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award) 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 butterfly works. His column "The Tangled Bank" appeared in 52 consecutive issues of Orion Magazine and are collected together in the volume The Tangled Bank.

Evolution of the Genus Iris is his first collection of poetry. “Far from the pedantic and needlessly cryptic verse of all-too-many modern poets writing in English today, the verses… dance and sing for all to enjoy,” wrote one reviewer. “Far from being a poet of the academy, Bob is – just as he is as a writer of prose – a poet of and for the people. Just as he himself knows no strangers, so his poems are likewise friends to all.”

(Read excerpts and a review by Katie Renz on our blog at

Pyle was awarded a Distinguished Service Award by The Society for Conservation Biology in 1993 and 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.