Jim Conrad

Jim Conrad
photo by Eric Chaffee © 2012

Main field of interest: Teaching nature-study techniques, and philosophizing about why understanding nature is so important.

Education: M.Sc. in Botany, B.Sc. in Biology & Geology

Background: Born in 1947, Jim grew up on a small tobacco farm in western Kentucky, in the southeastern USA.

After college he served as a naturalist in a Kentucky state park, then for three years worked at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. While there he collected plants for taxonomic research in several Latin American countries.

Then he began his main career as a freelance writer focusing mostly on topics relating to natural history. For his work he has traveled in about forty countries, in the process publishing over 200 magazine articles and stories, and six books. His most popular books are MEXICO: A Hiker's Guide to Mexican Natural History and The Maya Road.

Jim lives an experimental life, exploring the possibilities of living an enriched existence while contributing to society, but also living simply, without much money, and going  easy on the environment. If you'd like a glimpse into that life, click here.

Jim passes along much of what Nature and various folks taught him in his free, online books. A guiding influence in Jim's life is what he calls The Six Miracles of Nature. You may be interested in Jim's You Tube video "How Nature Study Changes Us."

Most of Jim's regularly published, commercial books are out of date and out of print. Still, usually you can find some at Amazon.Com. To see what's being offered today, click here.

During his writing career he frequently served on plant-collecting expeditions in the Americas and Africa. For several summers he has worked as a botanical illustrator at the University of Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany and as a naturalist at a "jungle lodge" in Belize. For two years he was mainly based in Waloonian Belgium, too.

In early 1997 Jim became an Internet-connected hermit/naturalist in the forests and fields of southwestern Mississippi. During this time he dedicated himself fully to advancing environmental education and cross-cultural sensitization by establishing appropriate websites. His first efforts resulted in the creation of the popular  EarthFoot's Free Ecotour Posterboard. In 2004, once that website was fully operational, he turned it over to a friend. Most recently he has developed the Backyard Nature website, as well as several other online books and sites.

You can download books written during various of Jim's naturalizing trips here.

Since 2005 Jim has wandered a bit, bartering labor of various kinds for lodging, in the process depositing onto the Internet information about nature in California's Sierra Nevadas, Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains, Kentucky's Bluegrass Region, and the Mexican states of Yucatán, Querétaro and Chiapas,. At this time Jim is in southwestern Texas. If you can imagine hosting him in a peaceful place with interesting plants and animals, in exchange for services such as teaching or painting houses, drop him a line.

Help Jim keep this site running with a donation of any size:

Each week Jim issues his Naturalist Newsletters. They consist of several pages about the plants and animals he has interacted with that week, and maybe a little philosophizing. You can access them for free on the Web.

You can write to Jim by clicking here.

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