Dana Stewart Quinney Interview
Idaho Author, Dana Stewart Quinney, recently took a few minutes to answer questions about her newest book, Wildflower Girl. Wildflower Girlis comprised of Dana’s childhood stories growing up in the mountain town of Ketchum, Idaho. Dana was enchanted and inspired by the outdoors in a powerful way that shaped her as both a child and an adult. As an adult this wonder led her to hold a distinguished career in field biology.
Here is what she had to say about writing Wildflower Girland the inspiration behind it:
What inspired you to want to write your story?
I wanted to show how a few events, important to a child but not much noticed by anyone else, inspired my career in biology—how a little girl from a mountain town ended up studying such things ants in Mexico and reef fish in Australia.
What picture do you paint of Ketchum in the 50’s?
Ketchum was a mountain town where everyone knew everyone else—and knew who had which dogs, horses, and cars. But it was, and still is, a place where the wealthy and famous could live alongside the townspeople without any of the hype that typically accompanies their presence. As a girl focused on wild things, I didn’t spend much time in town.
What challenges did you face in writing this story?
Wildflower Girlis a series of true stories that started out as reminiscences for family and students. It’s easy to get people excited about lions and tigers or a climb to the top of the highest mountain, but I wanted people to share my excitement in seeing the charming, overlooked places and creatures, the little lives that anyone can discover.
What advice do you have for children or young adults who are passionate about “the wilds”?
Learn how to identify what you are seeing—plants, creatures, rock formations. That will make your experiences much richer and will help you to distinguish true conservation practices from supposed conservation efforts that may be harmful.
What do you love most about Idaho?
I love the public lands and the freedom they afford us. There are millions of acres in Idaho where anyone can go and hike, camp, walk with a dog, photograph flowers, or simply sit on a rock and breathe. You don’t need a campground, you don’t need to pay a fee, and you don’t need to interact with anyone. That’s freedom.
What does enjoying the wilds look like for you now that you are in a more seasoned chapter of life?
I am still enchanted.
Legend Keepers in the News
The Legend Keepers Series has won three awards due to its uniquely crafted narrative and important message– a blend of fantasy and fiction promoting an environmental message!
“I blended what we know about animals from research, and what we would like to know about animals but don’t — the stuff we imagine and wish we knew,” he said. “As a novelist, I have this freedom that I don’t have as a scientist writing nonfiction.”
Celebrating the Earth and Environmental Education: A Message From Our Kids’ Future
Science has the wonderful capacity to open young minds to possibilities. It prompts them to ask questions about the world they live in, especially the “how” and “why” questions.
I also believe that literature can enhance classroom science education. Both nonfiction and fiction—including eco-fiction—convey engaging and evocative examples of science in action. Such storytelling helps both young and old to see what’s possible. Stories inspire us to imagine what could be. We need to be able to imagine, to dream of the future we want. Only then can we seek and achieve it. This is our shared responsibility to future generations, and to planet Earth.
Green Earth Books: A Book List for Earth Day!
My favorite way of exploring any topic with my kids is—you guessed it, with books! There are many books that cover topics of pollution, the Earth, climate change, environmental activism and activists, recycling, science and scientists, plants and animals, both fiction and nonfiction, picture books, and chapter books. I am grateful for the wide variety, but it can sometimes make it a bit tricky to know just where to start. Here’s a quick tip–find a list of books that have been nominated for or won an award. These books have been vetted and have a stamp of approval. For my 2023 Earth Day Book Recommendation List, I am pulling from The Green Earth Book Awards. Seems pretty fitting for Earth Day, don’t you think?