Across Vermont meadows and up Maine mountainsides, writer Richard Wolkomir followed in the footsteps of University of Vermont biologist Bernd Heinrich. A relentlessly energetic field scientist, Heinrich is the ultimate intellectual omnivore: for starters, he is a leading expert on thermoregulation in insects. The author of the acclaimed Bumblebee Economics, now a natural history classic, he has produced a number of other books, including his latest title, The Trees in My Forest, an homage to the rhythms of life in his 300-acre Maine forest.
But that's only the beginning in a career that has proved particularly expansive, even in the rarified sphere of world-class biologists. Heinrich has also created, among other accomplishments, a definitive ornithological study, Ravens in Winter. (He has studied ravens since 1984 and continues his passionate observation of those birds, refining always his understanding of their behavior and thinking.)
Heinrich's lifework is founded in the field, in the painstaking observation that is the underpinning of behavioral biology. But it is also a lifework founded in passion: "I'm in biology," he says, "for the fun of it."