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Scott Freeman


I grew up in southern Wisconsin, nurturing my twin ambitions to play basketball for the Beloit Memorial High School Purple Knights and to spend as much time as possible outdoors. I started doing prairie restoration work while in college in southern Minnesota, studied grizzly bears in Yellowstone Park, then restored prairies at the International Crane Foundation and Aldo Leopold Memorial Reserve, where I met my wife Susan Leopold. The first home we made together was in Baraboo, Wisconsin, original headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus. We lived just downwind from the Circus World Museum—I can still hear the siren strains of the calliope.

Graduate school took us to the University of Washington in Seattle; a postdoctoral fellowship took us to Princeton University; a job at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture brought us back to Seattle, where we stayed and raised two boys.

After flailing and failing at basketball and a long list of other pursuits, I discovered—late in life, by most reasonable standards—that I was reasonably good at two things: teaching and writing. So that’s what I do now. As a lecturer in Biology at the University of Washington, I’ve taught over 15,000 students, won a Distinguished Teaching Award, and published research on how innovative approaches to teaching science can benefit all students, but particularly students from disadvantaged backgrounds. One of those papers has been downloaded over 200,000 times and cited all over the world. As a writer, I’ve authored the textbooks Biological Science and Evolutionary Analysis, which have sold over 500,000 copies and been translated into Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Turkish.

Saving Tarboo Creek is the first book I’ve written for a general audience. It, like the work it describes, is a labor of love.

To read about Scott’s work at the University of Washington Biology Department, click here.

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