Karen James Ph.D., Scientist
Karen James is a staff scientist at the MDI BioLab where she works at the intersection of research, education, and outreach to adapt DNA-assisted species identification for use in citizen science projects. She’s passionate about helping people understand and manage the environmental changes caused by humans. She is co-founder and director of the HMS Beagle Trust, a nonprofit that aims to build a replica of the 90-foot wooden ship on which Charles Darwin did his the research that led to the theory of evolution; once built the ship will become a floating laboratory. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and was once in the running to become an astronaut.
Patrick Jennings, Author
Patrick Jennings is the author of We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes, and many other critically acclaimed and award-winning books (23 in all) including Faith and the Electric Dogs, Putnam and Pennyroyal, The Beastly Arms, The Wolving Time, Guinea Dog, and My Homework Ate My Homework. He focuses on the use of language and story to plumb the mysteries of the universe, and to express the breadth of one’s imagination. He often leads workshops for young writers, hoping to inspire them to take up their “magic wands” (writing instruments), value their own curiosity and creativity, to see writing and reading as means toward a greater understanding of oneself and others, and to have a lot of fun doing it. A native of Indiana, he lived in Arizona and California before settling in Port Townsend, Washington where he lives with his family.
Rebekah Raye, Artist, Educator, Author
Rebekah is a well-known painter and sculptor of animal art, and the author and illustrator of The Very Best Bed, which won a Maine Literary Award from the Maine Publishers Alliance, and Bear-ly There. She loves animals and their relationship to people and to each other. A native of Tennessee, Rebekah now lives in East Blue Hill, Maine, and interacts daily with animals domestic and wild, which provide inspiration for her art. She also teaches workshops for adults and children.
Kimberly Ridley, Author
Kimberly Ridley is a science writer and editor who is passionate about the natural world. She is a contributing editor to Down East Magazine, and author of the children’s book The Secret Pool which was illustrated by Rebekah Raye. Her articles and essays have appeared in many print and online publications including the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, and Ode Magazine. Kim is an avid birder and naturalist who never leaves her Brooklin, Maine home without her binoculars, hand lens, notebook, and green rubber boots.