Jump-Starting A Massive Project on Hold for Years

June 15, 2023

In 1991, not long after I landed in north central Nebraska, I immersed myself in the rural life and culture of the Niobrara River Valley and the Nebraska Sandhills. The beauty of the place astonished me, and its story captivated me. For the following three decades, I watched from a ringside seat as a real-life drama unfolded, encompassing the past, present, and future of the Niobrara River and the folks who care about it.

During that time, I collected pieces of the story from the people who populated it, as well as news accounts and historical material. Although the tale continues unfolding today, I think it’s high time to start putting those fragments together into a comprehensive narrative.

This could take a while, but now that I’m officially retired, I have the time to do it. I’ve started organizing and consolidating digital material that’s scattered all over my hard drive, and I’ve identified over 25 boxes of paper records that I’ll soon begin inventorying. That’s just the first step required before I can dive into the writing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, I’m also increasing the pace of my usual storytelling, and I’ll continue to share with you short stories about my adventures as one of North America’s early female foresters. I’ll eventually publish a collection of them.

Retirement? I can already see that the word—for me, anyway—doesn’t mean slowing down. Enjoy your summer, folks!


Photo by S. G. Benson: Brewer Bridge over the Niobrara River, 2007

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