Biologist, author, and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D. writes about climate change, ecology, and the links between human health and the environment.
Steingraber’s highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment was the first to bring together data on toxic releases with data from U.S. cancer registries and was adapted for the screen in 2010. As both book and documentary film, Living Downstream has won praise from international media.
Continuing the investigation begun in Living Downstream, Steingraber’s books, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood and Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis, explore the intimate ecology of pregnancy and reveal the ways which environmental hazards now threaten each stage of infant and child development. Throughout, she calls parents and cancer patients alike to political action.
“We are all members of a great human orchestra,” says Steingraber, “and it is now time to play the Save the World Symphony. You do not have to play a solo, but you do have to know what instrument you hold and find your place in the score.”
Called “a poet with a knife” by Sojourner magazine, Steingraber has received many honors for her work as a science writer, including, in 2011, a Heinz Award. By donating the cash prize to the anti-fracking movement, she became, in 2012, the co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking, a statewide coalition of more than 280 grassroots organizations.
Steingraber has been named a Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine, a Person of the Year by Treehugger, and one of 25 “Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” by the Utne Reader. She is the recipient of the biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award and the Jenifer Altman Foundation’s Altman Award for “the inspiring and poetic use of science to elucidate the causes of cancer.” Steingraber received a Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund and the Environmental Health Champion Award from Physicians for Social Responsibility, Los Angeles.
Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about science and nature for 25 years. Her most recent book, The Genius of Birds (Penguin Press, April 2016), explores the intelligence of birds. Her previous books include Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold (Twelve Press, 2010), Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity (Houghton Mifflin 2001), and Notes from the Shore (Viking Penguin, 1995). A contributor to Scientific American, National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, and many other publications, Jennifer is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including an NEA Literature Fellowship in Nonfiction, a Bunting Institute Fellowship, and a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Her articles and essays have been included in several anthologies, among them, Best American Science Writing, The Nature Reader, Best Nature Writing, Flights of Imagination: Extraordinary Writings About Birds, and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. Jennifer’s work aims to explain and interpret science for a lay audience and to explore the riddle of humanity’s place in the natural world, blending scientific knowledge with imaginative vision.
Deborah Cramer lives with her family at the edge of a salt marsh in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where each year she awaits the arrival of horseshoe crabs and alewives in tidal creeks, and the passage of migrating sandpipers and herons. She writes about science, nature, and the environment, and is a visiting scholar at MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative.
Cramer has written three books, Great Waters: An Atlantic Passage, Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World, and The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey. She has lectured about her writing and the sea on both sides of the Atlantic, at science and maritime museums, environmental and teachers’ organizations, and undergraduate and graduate schools in oceanography and journalism. Her writing has most recently appeared in Audubon, BBC Wildlife, the Boston Globe and on the op-ed page of the New York Times. The Narrow Edge received the 2016 Reed Award for Environmental Writing from the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Kristen Iversen is the author of Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Reading the West Book Award, and chosen one of the Best Books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews, the American Library Association, and Mother Jones Magazine, and 2012 Best Book about Justice by The Atlantic. Selected by more than a dozen universities across the country for their First Year Experience/Common Read programs, Full Body Burden was also a finalist for the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence. Recently Full Body Burden was published in China and it is forthcoming in Japan.
Iversen is also the author of Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth, winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction, and a textbook, Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Reader’s Digest, Fourth Genre, and many other publications. She has appeared on C-Span, NPR’s Fresh Air, and BBC World Outlook, and worked extensively with A&E Biography, The History Channel, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2014 was the recipient of the award for Distinguished Achievement in the Creative Arts from the University of Memphis.
She holds a PhD from the University of Denver, and currently heads the PhD program in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Cincinnati. She has lectured widely across the U.S. and abroad.
Melanie Choukas-Bradley is a Washington, DC author and naturalist who leads field trips and tree tours for the Audubon Naturalist Society, the United States Botanic Garden, Casey Trees, the Maryland and Virginia Native Plant Societies, the Rock Creek Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, and other organizations. She is the author of the award-winning book, A Year in Rock Creek Park: The Wild, Wooded Heart of Washington, DC, with photographs by Susan Austin Roth. The book was published in two editions in the fall of 2014 by George F. Thompson Publishing. The softcover edition is distributed by the University of Virginia Press.
Melanie is the author of three other critically acclaimed books: City of Trees: The Complete Field Guide to the Trees of Washington, DC, illustrated by Polly Alexander and now in its third edition (2008), An Illustrated Guide to Eastern Woodland Wildflowers and Trees: 350 Plants Observed at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland, illustrated by Tina Thieme Brown (2004, 2007), and Sugarloaf: The Mountain’s History, Geology, and Natural Lore, illustrated by Tina Thieme Brown (2003), all published by the University of Virginia Press. She is also a long-time contributor to The Washington Post and other publications, has appeared as an author and guest expert on All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and Metro Connection. In 2014, Melanie was awarded one of four inaugural “Canopy Awards” by Casey Trees, for her efforts to educate people about the trees of Washington, DC.
As the CEO of the Rachel Carson Council, Dr. Musil speaks and organizes nationwide at campuses and civic organizations, is a key advocate on Capitol Hill, and has increased RCC membership, budget, and staff while developing an extensive and growing grassroots and campus network. He has designed and led RCC organizing efforts in North Carolina, spoken and organized in Florida at campus and community events to oppose the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant in collaboration with Beyond Nuclear, and is the co-author of Pork and Pollution.
Musil has been a leader, activist, educator and author in the national environmental, environmental health, peace and social justice movements for over three decades. He is one of the most respected and senior public interest advocates in Washington. He serves as the President of the Scoville Peace Fellowship; Chairman of the Board of the Council for a Livable World (C)(4) and PAC; Chairman of the Board of the Population Connection Action Fund (C)(4) and PAC; a Board member of Beyond Nuclear; and an Advisory Board member of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI). Musil is also an environmental educator who is a Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University where he teaches American environmental politics. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Mitchell College in New London, Connecticut where he is involved in reviewing a new campus master plan and college endowment investments for sustainability and social responsibility. Musil also writes on climate, nuclear and justice issues for the Huffington Post and is the author of three environmental books: Hope for a Heated Planet: How Americans Are Fighting Global Warming and Building a Better Future (Rutgers, 2009); Rachel Carson and Her Sisters: Extraordinary Women Who Have Shaped America’s Environment (Rutgers Press, 2014) and Washington in Spring: A Nature Journal for a Changing Capital (Bartleby Press, 2016).
Susan A. Cohen Ph.D. is co-editor with Julie Dunlap of Coming of Age at the End of Nature: A Generation Faces Living on a Changed Planet (Trinity University Press, 2016), co-editor with Florence Caplow of Wildbranch: An Anthology of Nature, Environmental, and Place-Based Writing (University of Utah Press, 2010), editor of Shorewords: A Collection of American Women’s Coastal Writings (University of Virginia Press, 2003) and author of English 101: Introduction to Writing (University of Maryland: University College Press, 1995). Her essay “Littoral Drifter” won second place in the Dan’s Papers $6,000 Literary Prize for Nonfiction in 2012, and she has published numerous essays on nature and American literature and the environment. Some of her essays can be found in Companions in Wonder: Children and Adults Exploring Nature Together (MIT Press, 2012), Women Writing Nature: A Feminist View (Lexington Books, 2008), Early American Nature Writers: A Biographical Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, 2007), Sea Stories (Blue Ocean Institute, 2007).
As a community activist, Cohen serves on the Board of the Anne Arundel Patapsco River Alliance, is an Anne Arundel County Master Watershed Steward and a Maryland Environmental Trust Land Steward. She has also coordinated environmental writing workshops for women nature writers at the base of Mount Rainier and at the edge of the Atlantic in Montauk Point, New York. For her environmental work she received a Governor’s Citation in 2013 and an Executive Citation in 2012.
Cohen is a Professor of English and the Coordinator of Creative Writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She earned her Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of Maryland.