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Starre Vartan is a freelance writer who specializes in science stories (with a focus on animals, geology, space, technology, and water resources) and conscious consumption topics—including travel, fashion, design, and mental health. With more than 15 years of experience, Vartan has written for: National Geographic, CNN Travel, Newsweek, Slate, Gizmodo, Scientific American, Elle, and more. Currently, she's the new media editor at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and social editor at the Apparel Impact Initiative.
In what ways does nature inspire or inform your work?
I spent great chunks of my childhood exploring first the tide pools near my first home at Coogee Beach, Australia, and then the woods and wetlands of New York’s Hudson Valley. As a free-range kid, I had the time and space to follow the trails of ants and deer, pick apart owl pellets, and design forest forts. This inspired my science career. I was a geologist first, now I’m a science writer. I’ve been lucky enough to live in all kinds of environments, something I relish as I love learning about new ecosystems—and each has shown me something unique. Living off-grid atop the lava-flows of K’au, Hawaii showed me how to coexist with an active volcano and I witnessed new land being born. The granite outcrops of Central Park kicked off my long-running fiber-arts project, and I became an expert berry-finder in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Over the last 6 years I’ve explored the ecosystems of the west coast of the U.S. and Canada, living in the Bay Area, the foothills of the Cascade mountains in Oregon, and currently on an island in Puget Sound near Seattle—all of which has directly informed my writing for National Geographic on PNW animals. My novel-in-progress is about women’s relationship to the natural world. Wherever I move, I get to know the local ecosystems by getting out for long hikes and examining geology, comparing that to topographical maps and watersheds, and noting similarities and differences in plants, trees, birds, and rocks. Both my life and my work always have been and will continue to be in service to and inspired by the natural world.