Stories hooked me on conservation. As a kid, I watched every National Geographic special I could and never missed an episode of Wild Kingdom. My fascination with all things wild led me to major in wildlife biology at Cornell University, but I quickly realized that I wasn’t a scientist at heart – I was more interested in saving creatures than studying them. I spent spring semester of my junior year in Washington, DC and shifted my focus to environmental policy. That decision led to dual graduate degrees in environmental science and public affairs at Indiana University and a long career in environmental policy analysis, program evaluation, and advocacy in Washington.
Urban life and policy gridlock eventually pushed me and my husband John to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where nature was closer at hand. I got involved in Shepherdstown’s American Conservation Film Festival, which reignited my passion for storytelling and the inspiration it can trigger. And so, after years of working and consulting for the federal government, conservation groups and charitable foundations, I decided to return to my conservation roots. I completed my M.A. in nonfiction writing at Johns Hopkins University in May 2013 and left my policy work behind.
Since then, my writing has appeared in publications such as The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, High Country News, Scientific American, Ensia, Wonderful West Virginia and other outlets. While in Shepherdstown, I wrote regular features on a wide range of topics for The Observer of Jefferson County (WV) and was a contributing editor for Fluent Magazine. In addition to my freelance writing, I work as a science communications coach for COMPASS, helping scientists communicate more effectively with journalists, policymakers, and others.
Recently, John and I fulfilled a lifelong dream and moved to the Rocky Mountain West and are now building a new home near Santa Fe, New Mexico. So that’s my story. You can see more of the (professional) details here and here, and can read most of my published stories here.
If I’ve still got your attention and you’d like to contact me with a story idea or question, feel free do so via my contact page or Twitter account (@AmyMatAm). I welcome inquiries from editors and readers, and am always looking for new opportunities to tell a good story.
Oh, and since this is the Internet, here’s a picture of my cat, Cookie, looking adorable.