Animal, mineral or vegetable, one of the first things Amy asks is, “Where are you from?” She’s pretty obsessed with the concept of place and what makes it — including plants. An Illinois native, she grew up dissecting roadside milkweed pods, climbing maple trees to release “helicopters” (samaras) from high branches, flicking puffball fungi in the woods and shaking catalpa “beans” like maracas. An Austin transplant by way of Oregon, her list of place-making plants now includes Douglas fir, Pacific madrone and western swordfern right along with crossvine, prickly pear and Texas mountain laurel.
A former music writer, Amy hung up her headphones in 2008 and left Portland on a 27-foot sailboat bound for the Sea of Cortez. She and her partner (neither of whom had any sailing experience) spent a year sailing the west coasts of Oregon, California and Baja, ending in La Paz, Baja California Sur. Though she’d always been a nature lover, Amy’s time at sea intensified that connection — and sparked her ongoing fascination with birds (not to mention a penchant for collecting National Audubon Society Field Guides). Amy wrote adventure memoir “The Box Wine Sailors” (2015, Chicago Review Press) about the experience. In addition to serving as music editor for Willamette Week (Portland’s Pulitzer Prize–winning alt-weekly newspaper), she has also written for SAIL magazine, Eugene Weekly, Loyola magazine, and Finder, a magazine-style guide to Portland.
Amy holds a bachelor’s in English from Loyola University Chicago and a master’s in geography from The University of Texas at Austin. She joined the Wildflower Center as managing editor in the spring of 2016 and contributes content, editorial direction and eagle eyes to the Center’s online and print publications, including Wildflower magazine. When she’s not catching typos, writing features and doctoring stories, Amy enjoys making “nano-budget” films with her partner; their movies have screened in association with the Austin Film Festival, Zed Fest in Burbank, California, and the Seattle Transmedia and Independent Film Festival (STIFF).