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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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Richard Nelson

Writer and Cultural Anthropologist


Richard Nelson

Richard Nelson in Alaska.
Richard Nelson is a writer and cultural anthropologist who has lived in Southeast Alaska for twenty-five years. He writes that he has been interested in nature since he was a small child. "One of my earliest memories is of catching butterflies in the backyard when I was about six. We had a very ordinary life in suburban Wisconsin, but I was always drawn to the woods and farmlands, always intrigued by wild animals. Beginning in the sixth grade, I became completely fascinated with turtles, lizards, and snakes, and this stayed with me well into my college years. In fact, I'm still interested in reptiles, but there aren't any in the far north, so I've turned my attention more to the birds, deer, bears, whales, and other animals that live around my Alaska home."

Nelson began to write when, as an anthropologist, he spent a number of years living with Eskimo and Indian people in Alaska. Eventually his reports were published. As he says, " I became a writer purely by accident."

Nelson believes that writers, even the youngest ones, should keep a journal. One of his books The Island Within, was written from the entries in a diary that spanned three years and numbered over three thousand pages. For more about his thoughts on nature and writing, look at "Perspectives" in the "Expedition Log."

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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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