50th Anniversary

Academics at Prescott College

Tom Fleischner, Ph.D.

Faculty; and Director, Natural History Institute

Tom's work is always rooted in natural history, ecology, and conservation biology, but plies the terrain at the margins of disciplines. He's most interested in the connections between sciences, humanities, and public policy, and between analytical and creative modes of thought. In addition to helping to coordinate the Conservation Biology and Natural History and Ecology emphasis areas within the undergraduate Environmental Studies curriculum, he teaches courses that link with many other curricular areas, including creative writing, environmental politics, and ecopsychology.  He occasionally mentors Master's students, and is an Affiliate Faculty in the Ph.D. program. He is also the Director of the college's Natural History Institute.



Ph.D., Environmental Studies. The Union Institute, 1998.
M.S., Biology. Western Washington University, 1983.
B.S., Field Biology. The Evergreen State College, 1977.



Tom was the founding President of the Natural History Network. He's written two books—Singing Stone: A Natural History of the Escalante Canyons and Desert Wetlands, and edited a third, The Way of Natural History—as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. (The Way of Natural History was included in the "Best of Science" short list in the Wall Street Journal, and also was awarded Honorable Mention in the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards.)  He co-founded the North Cascades Institute in Washington State, and served on the Board of Governors of the Society for Conservation Biology, the Science Advisory Council of the Grand Canyon Trust, and served in an advisory capacity to many other local and regional organizations. He was a long-term member of the Education Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology, and served as President of the society’s Colorado Plateau Chapter.  

Field research projects include an ongoing study of migratory and wintering shorebirds at Estero Santa Cruz in the Gulf of California, Mexico.  For many years Tom was involved in studying the ecological effects of livestock grazing in western North America.  He chaired the committee that wrote a position statement on this topic for the Society for Conservation Biology.  With colleagues, he conducted a study of the ecological effects of historic livestock grazing on plant communities in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, and recently published a new synthesis paper on livestock grazing and wildilfe conservation in the American West.  Earlier field research concerned marine mammals and marine birds. 



Natural history;  conservation biology;  endangered species;  nature writing & literature;  ecology of livestock grazing



Fleischner, T.L. R.E. Espinoza, G. Gerrish, H.W. Greene, R.W. Kimmerer, E.A. Lacey, S. Pace, J.K. Parrish, H. Swain, S. Trombulak, S. Weisberg, D.W. Winkler, and L. Zander.  In Press (2017).  Teaching biology in the field: Importance, challenges, and solutions. BioScience.

Fleischner, T.L., ed. In Press (2017). Nature, Love, Medicine: Essays on Healing in Wildness. Torrey House Press, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Fleischner, T.L. In Press (2017). Our Deepest Affinity.  In: T.L. Fleischner, ed.  Nature, Love, Medicine: Essays on Healing in Wildness. Torrey House Press, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Fleischner, T.L.  In Press (2017).  The Grace of Wildness. In S. Trimble, ed.  Red Rock Stories. Torrey House Press, Salt Lake City. 

Pace, S., T.L. Fleischner, S Weisberg, and A. Moline. 2017.  Saying Yes to Environmental Field Studies: A Guide to Proactive, Successful Administration and Operations.  Natural History Institute, Prescott, Arizona (available at: http://naturalhistoryinstitute.org/saying-yes-field-studies-manual/)

Fleischner, T.L.  2016.  The Grace of Wildness. Pages 54-55 in S. Trimble, ed.  Red Rock Testimony.  Limited edition chapbook for members of U.S. Congress, in partnership with Torrey House Press, Salt Lake City. 

Fleischner, T.L., A. Sunseri, K. Clute, L. Dowling, D. Goehring, A. Gosnell, R. Haaversen, E. Healy, C. Lozenich, J.D. Mobley, J. Tinnin, and G. Whol.  2015.  Lessons of the wild: nature and psyche in the Escalante Canyons.  Ecopsychology 7(1): 4-6.

Beschta, R.L., D.L. Donahue, D.A. DellaSala, J.J. Rhodes, J.R. Karr, M.H. O'Brien, T.L. Fleischner, and C. Deacon Williams.  2014. Reducing livestock effects on public lands in the western United States as the climate changes: A reply to Svejcar et al.  Environmental Management 53(6):1039-1042. doi: 10.1007/s00267-014-0263-5.

Fleischner, T.L.  2014.  An invitation to attentiveness and imagination.  Questions for a Resilient Future series, Center for Humans & Nature.  http://www.humansandnature.org/earth-ethic---thomas-lowe-fleischner-response-97.php.

Fleischner, T.L., T. Wessels, R.E. Grumbine, and S. Weisberg.  2013.  Toward transformative natural history education: a few principles.  Journal of Natural History Education and Experience.

Beschta, R.L., D.L. Donahue, D.A. DellaSalla, J.J. Rhodes, J.R. Karr, M.H. O'Brien, T.L. Fleischner, and C. Deacon-Williams.  2013.  Adapting to climate change on Western public lands: addressing the ecological effects of domestic, wild, and feral ungulates.  Environmental Management 51: 474-491. (DOI 10.1007/s00267-012-9964-9).

 Floyd, M.L., D.D. Hanna, T.L. Fleischner, and B. Shattuck.  2012.  Revisiting trends in vegetation recovery following protection from grazing, Chaco Culture National Historic Park, New Mexico.  Pages 83-92 in C. van Riper, III, M. Villareal, C. van Riper, and M. Johnson, eds.  The Colorodo Plateau V.  University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Fleischner, T.L.  2012.  Natural history: the taproot of ecology.  Pages 20-21 in R. Sagarin and A. Pauchard.  Observation and ecology: broadening the scope of science to understand a complex world.  Island Press, Washington, D.C.

 Fleischner, T.L.  2011.  Why natural history matters.  Journal of Natural History Education and Experience 5: 21-24. 

Fleischner, T.L., editor. 2011. The Way of Natural History.  Trinity University Press, San Antonio, Texas.  

Fleischner, T.L.  2011.  The mindfulness of natural history.  Pages 3-15 in T.L. Fleischner, ed. The Way of Natural History.  Trinity University Press, San Antonio, TX.                                                                  

Fleischner, T.L.  2010.  Livestock grazing and wildlife conservation in the American West: historical, policy, and conservation biology perspectives.  Pages 235-265 in J. DuToit, R. Kock, and J. Deutsch, eds.  Wild Rangelands: Conserving Wildlife While Maintaining Livestock in Semi-Arid Ecosystems. Zoological Society of London/ Blackwell Publishing Ltd., Oxford, UK.

Fleischner. T.L. and H.R. Gates. 2009.  Shorebird use of Estero Santa Cruz, Sonora, Mexico: abundance, diversity, and conservation implications.  Waterbirds 32(1): 36-43.

Trombulak, S.C. and T.L. Fleischner.  2007.  Natural history renaissance.  Journal of Natural History Education 1: 1-4.  

Fleischner, T.L. 2005. Natural history and the deep roots of resource management. Natural Resources Journal 45: 1-13. 

Fleischner, T.L., with photographs by L. Niemeyer. 2005. Desert Wetlands.   University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Trombulak, S.C., K.S. Omland, J.A. Robinson, J.J. Lusk, T.L. Fleischner, G. Brown, and M. Domroese. 2004. Principles of conservation biology: Recommended guidelines for conservation literacy from the Education Committee of the Society for Conservation Biology. Conservation Biology 18: 1180-1190. 

Fleischner, T.L. 1999. Singing Stone: A Natural History of the Escalante Canyons. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.



The Critical Importance of Field Education in a Changing World

Co-Organizer, Special Session, Ecological Society of America conference, Portland, Oregon; August 2017

Why Natural History Matters 

Keynote, 14th Annual Arizona Botany Meeting, Arizona Native Plant Society, Prescott, Arizona; May 2017

Our Deepest Affinity: Connecting With Nature as the Wellspring of Relational Learning, Leadership, and Hope

Keynote (Inspirator), The Second International Dialogue for Relational Leadership and Learning for Hope-full and Sustainable Futures, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia; July 2015

Stories from the American Campfire: Conservation Strategy and Practice in the USA

Conservation Council of South Australia; Adelaide, Australia; July 2015

Falling in Love With the World: The Path of Natural History

Keynote, Northeast Naturalists' Gathering, Natural History Network/Sterling College, Craftsbury Common, Vermont;  May 2014

Falling in Love With the World: The Path of Natural History

Prescott Community Earth Day, Prescott, Arizona;  April 2014

The Way of Nature in the Southwest

Reading and Presentation, Peregrine Book Co., Prescott, Arizona; November 2013

 How to Write about the Environment Without Succumbing to Despair: Three Perspectives on Environmental Solutions

Panelist (with Alan Weisman and Antony Brown), Peregrine Book Co., Prescott, Arizona; October 2013

 Knowing Place: What, Why, and How   

Panelist, "Knowing Place: A Forum", Speak to the Wild, Wells Gray Provincial Park, Clearwater, British Columbia; September 2013

Why Natural History Matters

Parsons Memorial Lodge Summer Series, Yosemite National Park, California; August 2012

 Natural History Renaissance: Building a Social Movement for Nature and Conservation

Forestry Seminar Series, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona;  November 2011

The Heart of Natural History

Keynote Address:  Centennial Zoofest, 100 Years of Arizona Natural History;  Heritage Park Zoological Park, Prescott, Arizona

Why the World Needs Natural History: Attentiveness to Nature as an Integrative Basis for Earth Stewardship

Ecological Society of America conference, Austin, Texas;  August 2011

Falling in Love with the World: the Path of Natural History

Society for Human Ecology conference, Las Vegas, Nevada; April 2011

The Way of Natural History

Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona; April 2011

126 Degrees of Exploration: A Year of Intentional Natural History

Prescott College, Prescott, Arizona; November 2009

What Is Natural History and Why Does It Matter?

Ecological Society of America conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico;  August 2009

Revitalizing Natural History

Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon;  November 2008

What Greater Treasure?: Living Water in the Desert

Keynote Address, Gila River Festival, Silver City, New Mexico; September 2007

The Greatest Alchemy: Wetlands and the Arid West

Keynote address, Western Wetlands Conference, Denver, Colorado; October 2005



Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation grant, ""The Decline in Field Studies: Proactive Strategies for Essential Training for the Next Generation of Biological Researchers"  (2015-2016)

Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation grant, "The Natural History Initiative: From Decline to Rebirth" (2010-2011)

Honorable Mention, ForeWord Book of the Year Awards, in "Nature" category--The Way of Natural History  (also a finalist in the "Anthologies" category)

Instruction at Prescott College

Instruction at Prescott College

Environmental Studies & Sustainability

The Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program centers on education in natural systems and processes of the Earth,... Read More

More Info

Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Studies is for students seeking rigorous multi­disciplinary exploration... Read More

More Info

Conservation Biology

Conservation Biology is an interdisciplinary field that has developed rapidly to respond to a global crisis confronting... Read More

More Info

Conservation Science

Many of our students focus their efforts on field-based efforts to protect our planets’ remaining bio-geographical and... Read More

More Info

Environmental Education BA

Environmental Education encourages the discovery and understanding of the Earth’s natural systems and the human role... Read More

More Info

Marine Studies

Marine Studies at Prescott College has a strong focus on ecology of the marine environment (physical oceanography and... Read More

More Info

Natural History & Ecology

Natural History and Ecology is an approach to learning how nature works, how organisms and their biotic and abiotic... Read More

More Info