David Haskell’s work integrates scientific and contemplative studies of natural world. His book, The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature (Viking Penguin, 2012), was winner of the National Academies’ Best Book Award for 2013, finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction, winner of the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award, winner the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature, and runner-up for the 2013 PEN E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. A profile in The New York Times said of Haskell that he “thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist.” E.O. Wilson called Haskell’s work “…a new genre of nature writing, located between science and poetry in which the invisible appear, the small grow large, and the immense complexity and beauty of life are more clearly revealed.”
Haskell holds degrees from the University of Oxford and from Cornell University. He is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of the South, where he served as Chair of Biology. He is a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow, a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and was granted Elective Membership in the American Ornithologists’ Union in recognition of “significant contributions to ornithology.” His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Wildlife Fund, among others. He has also served on the boards and advisory committees of local and regional land conservation groups.”
Haskell’s classes have received national attention for the innovative ways they combine science, contemplation, and action in the community. In 2009, the Carnegie and CASE Foundations named him Professor of the Year for Tennessee. The Oxford American featured him in 2011 as one of the southern U.S.’s most creative teachers, and his teaching has been profiled in USA Today, The Tennesseean, and other newspapers.
He was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for research on his new book THE SONGS OF TREES (to be published by Viking Penguin in April 2017), a study of humanity’s varied roles within biological networks as heard through the acoustics of trees.
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