My Home and Family
For the past 33 years I've lived in Swan Valley, Montana
(map, PDF format) with my husband, Steve. We built our home using lodgepole pines harvested locally. We are the proud parents of two adult children - Annie who now lives in Denver with her husband, John, and Luke who lives nearby.
Sandwiched between the Mission Mountains Wilderness and the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Swan Valley retains much of its wild and rugged character. With its towering mountains to its plentiful wildfife, Swan Valley is the ideal place for me to not only stay connected to nature, but also to find inspiration for my art and writing projects.
As a youngster growing up on a farm in the heartland of Illinois, I embraced the freedom to explore and romp in the great outdoors. My choice of playtime activities was limited only to my imagination. I spent much of my time with my brothers and sisters fishing in the pond, searching for new litters of kittens in the barn, making mud pies, catching lightning bugs, and bicycling down country roads. Like most farm kids, I spent many hours outside observing animal life - from cows to pigs, to kittens and rabbits, even raccoons and ducks.
Living on a farm also meant helping with chores like collecting eggs in the henhouse, watering the pigs, climbing the barn loft to throw hay down for the cattle, shoveling wheat in the granery, and planting potatoes in the garden. Sometimes I was allowed to milk our cow, Susie. I learned to drive a tractor before I learned to ride a bicycle
This strong connection to nature developed during childhood has given me the impetus to capture the beauty of nature in my watercolor paintings. I have always loved to draw and paint. Art was one of my favorite classes in school, however, reading was my all time favorite! The high school I attended didn't offer art classes, so I begged my parents to allow me to take an art correspondence course. In college I signed up for as many art classes as time allowed, but I knew in my heart that teaching was my first priority.
The Art of Teaching
As an educator for over three decades, I've taught students at every grade level from preschool to college. I firmly believe that teaching is an art form. Teachers, like artists, draw upon their talents to communicate ideas that will nurture student potential. It takes a solid imagination to anticipate the needs and reactions of a roomful of students with varying abilities.
Enriching science education through outdoor investigations is a special interest of mine. I help students connect with nature when we hike to the Swan River just a few blocks from the Bigfork Elementary School where I teach. When I help my students identify birds, wildflowers or animal tracks, I hope they not only connect with nature, but also vigorously preserve it.