Here's Why I Wrote The Nature of Bend

Photo: Ron Halvorson

Photo: Ron Halvorson

Before I moved to Bend, I lived on Sauvie Island—a gorgeous place and a birding hotspot. Only I didn't know how to identify many of the birds (or other animals or plants) around me. I went to workshops ... then went home and forgot what I learned. I bought field guides ... but struggled to translate their scientific descriptions of species from all over the Northwest to what I was seeing in my own backyard. 

The struggle was the same wherever I went, including many excursions to Central Oregon. I'd hike and bike and kayak and climb, but was forever frustrated that I didn't know what I was looking at along the way (I also drove many a hiking partner nuts with my questions). 

Fast-forward to a couple years ago, and I was fully, madly in love with the Central Oregon outdoors and was straining with all my might to get to know it better. This time I wouldn't be denied, even if it meant having to write the nature guide I'd always wanted to read.

So I started dreaming (some would say plotting). This magical nature guide would be about one fairly small place—Central Oregon—not all of Oregon or the Pacific Northwest or the West. It wouldn't assume you know four-syllable words, but it'd also be smart, covering the basics and adding deeper insights. It'd help you identify species AND give you reasons to care about them. It'd be beautiful, filled with full-color photos that make you itch to get out there. It'd be full of stories from local naturalists who have lived and breathed and protected this place for decades. And the writing would be as joyful and funny and enthusiastic—as wild and alive—as the species themselves.

Well, that was the goal. The Nature of Bend is the book I've always wanted, and I hope it'll deepen your outdoor experiences like it has mine.