Kate Marianchild is a passionate student of oak woodland and redwood ecology. Her book Secrets of the Oak Woodlands will be published by Heyday in spring of 2014. Kate comes to nature writing via a childhood crisscrossed with rattlesnakes and tortoises, giant kelp and sea cucumbers. Her college career gave her facility with Chinese language and literature and a degree in comparative literature, both of which were of limited usefulness during her post-college years of organizing demonstrations and publishing underground newspapers.
Moving to Mendocino County in 1981, Kate initially swung a hammer to pay the bills while painting watercolors, designing and building a canvas yurt, and founding a sea vegetable company. Seaweed won, but after 25 years of backpacking slippery wet stuff up treacherous cliffs (and then drying, packaging, and selling it), she realized she needed a change and a warmer climate.
Landing in a luscious landscape that rustled, hummed, and sang with animal sounds, she fell in love with the birds and of Ukiah Valley. First as a volunteer and later as a paid publicist, she often wrote about birds and other aspects of the natural world. Her interest in local birds expanded into curiosity about the species they depend on for food, nest material, cover, etc. Soon she was deeply excited about the marvels and mysteries of the entire oak woodland web of life and realized she wanted both to share her discoveries with the public and contribute to the protection of California’s oaks.