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Author's Comments

Researching and writing Nature’s Ambassador: The Legacy of Thornton W. Burgess was an extensive, exhausting, exciting, and rewarding effort. In order to tell the story of this remarkable writer, I talked with poets, environmental historians, biographers, naturalists, college professors, Canadian archivists, Japanese librarians, museum curators, book sellers, artists, authors, readers, parents, teachers, children, and former children.


In all, I conducted approximately ninety interviews by phone, email, and in person. The sources ranged in age from eight to ninety, and in locale from Maine to Texas, California to Massachusetts, and from Japan to Canada.


But the publisher and I underestimated the challenge of documenting the role of a prolific writer who contributed to the formative years of 1) children’s literature, 2) conservation, 3) environmental education, and 4) radio technology. No wonder it took four and a half years to write a book about Thornton Burgess’ life and work!


The last reviews of galley proofs and layout design were long and tedious, but finally the book was turned over to production. Weeks later, a FedEx delivery man handed me a brown box. My advance author’s copy had arrived. Nature’s Ambassador was about to begin making its way to bookstores, libraries, homes -- and into the hands of readers!

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NOTE: If I could choose only one photo to be in Nature’s Ambassador, this would be it: Burgess lost in reverie, standing alone, savoring the smells and sight and sounds of a woods, of pure nature. I love it.

In Praise of Thornton W. Burgess

"Looking back, Thornton Burgess is someone who had an influence on my life, my future, and what I do today. By college I was doing nothing but birding and building on my interest in natural history. I got a degree in biology and started teaching life science, then a master’s degree and was increasingly involved in ornithology. I have to think the Burgess stories were seminal in getting me started on the road, on my life’s path. I can remember his characters now and being entranced by them."

- Wayne Petersen

Director, Mass Audubon Important Bird Area (IBA) Program

Author, Birds of Massachusetts

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