As famous in her heyday as any contemporary author today, Gene Stratton-Porter was a celebrated naturalist, author, photographer, and film producer. Born in Indiana in 1863, she grew up with a love of nature, especially birds, and spent her childhood roaming farms and forests, learning about their unique habitats and capturing the beauty of the landscape in her words.
Her writings soon turned into books- 26 total- that connected readers to natural settings, wholesome lessons, and strong, often female, lead characters. Those winning characteristics continue to inspire nature writers today, including FOB’s own board member Annie Dillard, a Pulitzer Prize winning author.
Stratton-Porter’s legacy is visible not only within her books, photography, and films, but also within the Limberlost Swamp where she used to study ecology. Since her time there, the swamp has been developed but piece by piece is being purchased by environmental groups and is slowly being restored to its natural state.
Her impact on conservation has been compared to Theodore Roosevelt’s and continues to inspire conservationists and nature lovers to follow in her incredible footsteps.
Read the article covering Gene Stratton-Porter’s life and incredible career in the March 2020 edition of the Smithsonian here.