Hi, My name's Jess. I'm a Dutch nature writer/editor, otter biologist, and avid nature photographer. I'm fortunate to have had an adventurous childhood and conservation career, both of which have led me to many unique places and memorable experiences.
I was born in Bogota, Colombia, and lived as a child in Burkina Faso, Holland, Tanzania, and the UK. After completing my Bachelors and Masters degrees in London, my work in conservation took me from monitoring the charismatic and irrepressible giant otter in Peru's lush rainforests, to helping to protect black rhinos in Zambia, both with the Frankfurt Zoological Society.
For over a decade I was Communications Coordinator of the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manu National Park, for San Diego Zoo Global Peru. With colleagues at Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, I published a couple of peer-reviewed scientific papers and a book chapter summarising 16 years of field data on giant otter demography and ecology.
Currently, I work part-time as Storyteller and Editor for Regenera, a digital platform start-up that enables people and organisations to transform their environmental footprint while supporting indigenous communities and local land managers who preserve and restore nature on their lands. I also volunteer with the editorial team at Deep Adaptation Forum and, since June 2021, I am the Associate Editor for Deep Adaptation Quarterly, a digital newsletter for people who are anticipating, observing, or experiencing societal disruption, or even collapse, in the face of the climate emergency and biodiversity loss.
My nature writing influences come from these and other experiences, such as two years spent sailing the North Atlantic with my family when I was six years old (I'm the curly headed one in the photo below :-) My wildlife stories and articles have been published in BBC Wildlife Magazine, Earth Island Journal, Africa Geographic, The Island Review, Zoomorphic, Sevenseas, and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine, amongst others. My latest book, about giant otters, was published in February 2019. My blog was Highly Commended in the International Category of the BBC Wildlife Blogger Awards in 2015, and I'm a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers.
Curious to read more? Here's an interview I did with Mary Woodbury, publisher at Moon Willow Press and curator of Eco-Fiction.com. And here's one on the environmental news site Mongabay about my work with giant otters.
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PS. I'm keen to help promote great nature writing by others, so here you can find my favourite nature quotes and my top nature reads by fellow writers.