Julie Zickefoose: Nature Artist & Writer
Julie Zickefoose started off as an illustrator of natural history subjects as a college freshman in 1976. A six-year stint as a field biologist with The Nature Conservancy's Connecticut Chapter proved a strong motivator both to learn more about ecosystems and to go back to drawing. Along the way, she began to write her own essays, studded with observations of birds and animals, and writing slowly crept into the forefront of her interests. Marietta, Ohio-based Bird Watcher’s Digest has been the major print venue for her writing since 1986, and she’s painted 23 covers for the magazine. Julie had a five-year run as a commentator for National Public Radio's afternoon news show "All Things Considered," telling about bird-eating bullfrogs and hummingbirds who came home to their foster mother, among other subjects. Julie’s first book of illustrated essays, Letters from Eden, was published by Houghton Mifflin in 2006. She started her natural history blog, Julie Zickefoose on Blogspot, in December 2005. The blog now entertains around 28,000 unique visits per month and continues to grow in popularity. Her current book, The Bluebird Effect: Uncommon Bonds With Common Birds, was Oprah’s Book of the Week in April 2012. It’s an amalgam of memoir, natural history and beautiful watercolor paintings and life sketches. Julie and her family (Bill Thompson III, Phoebe, Liam and Boston terrier Chet Baker) live in a ranch house topped by a 42 foot tall birdwatching tower. 186 species of birds and 78 butterfly species have graced the 80-acre sanctuary to date. With a dozen species of breeding warblers and more gardens than any one person should probably try to take care of, Indigo Hill has everything Julie needs to keep writing and drawing for a very long time.