I’m a plant biologist with a calling to restore nature and our connection with the community of the land, especially right at home where we live, work and play. Plants are my “people”—I am fascinated by the myriad ways they weave the world’s living communities, forming the green tapestry that covers this planet, and providing homes, food, natural materials, and the oxygen we breathe.
I began my career as a field ecologist studying sagebrush, grizzly bears, and wildfires. I reveled in the work and the time outside in the West’s expansive landscapes, but eventually realized I loved the stories in the data more than collecting those data. So I learned how to tell those stories, not an easy trick for a scientist schooled in dispassionate, impersonal prose.
My writing rises from the intersection of head and heart, love and loss, science and storytelling, hope and grief, devastation and restoration—from the well of life itself.
I’ve written on life and our place in it for magazines and newspapers as diverse as Audubon and Popular Mechanics, High Country News and the Los Angeles Times. My work has been heard on public radio and the Martha Stewart Living Radio Network. I’ve been a columnist for Rocky Mountain Gardening and a regular commentator for the Denver Post and High Country News. I’ve written weekly newspaper columns and radio commentaries, magazine journalism, essays for anthologies and journals, interpretive signs and displays, road guides, blogs.
Writing is my way of giving voice to voices we might otherwise miss in the community of the land around us. It’s my vocation as well as my passion, my practice of witnessing to the astonishingly rich myriad of lives and relationships who animate this planet we call Earth.
My books explore explore the nature of life itself in genres including memoir, science journalism, nature essay, travel, kids, and garden writing. They are suffused with the joy I feel at being alive and part of the life and lives that animate this numinous planet.
My work has won awards including ForeWord Book of the Year, the Colorado Book Award and the Colorado Author’s League Award. Reviewers have called my writing “graceful and moving,” “magic!,” and “rich in the wisdom of one come face-to-face with the fragility, beauty and poetics of everyday life.”
I’ve taught workshops at schools and writing conferences from the University of California-Riverside and Miami University of Ohio to Wofford College in South Carolina and the Tony Hillerman Writing Conference in Santa Fe. Audiences as diverse as the International Xeriscape Conference, Collegiate Peaks Forum, and the Walking Words Writing Festival have found my talks “inspiring,” “insightful,” and “life-changing.”
My presentations reflect my sense of gratitude at the gift of life itself and my belief in living mindfully and with an intention to leave this earth—at least my small part of it—in better shape than I found it.
I review books and interview authors for Story Circle Book Reviews, and contribute to widely-read websites including Humans & Nature. My daily practice of noticing and appreciating life around me is reflected in the haiku and photo I post every morning on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
I’m also a passionate gardener who grows an organic kitchen garden, and practices restoration landscaping–I take particular joy in bringing formerly industrial sites back to life. My restoration projects have been featured in the Rocky Mountain News, Rocky Mountain Gardening Magazine, and on national and regional garden tours.
I live in a small, passive-solar house set amidst native prairie outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. I spend parts of my summers in the sagebrush country of Wyoming, removing invasive weeds, and hiking and taking horsepacking trips into the wilderness. I’m a Quaker, step-mother to a brilliant and beautiful daughter, part of a warm and loving nuclear family, and an involved member of my communities. I belong to Story Circle Network, Women Writing the West and Wyoming Writers.
I’ve moved my writing to my Practicing Terraphilia journal on Substack, where I send out two missives per week to all subscribers, a Tuesday gratitude haiku and photo with a brief reflection, and on Sundays a longer, personal reflection on some aspect of living with love for this planet and each other. Subscribing to Practicing Terraphilia is free; if you chose to support me with a paid subscription, you’ll get a deeper dive on Sundays and occasional Thursday videos on wisdom from nature nearby, and nuggets from science or writing.
Be assured that I will never spam you, or trade or sell your address to anyone for any purpose!
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Thank you, and many blessings! Susan
Reading about someone’s lifelong struggle… can get, well, boring, unless the writer is Susan J. Tweit. She’s a fine writer, and instead of a whine, Walking Nature Home is a story of love….
—Sandra Dallas, Denver Post