Workshops & Presentations

It all begins with wonder.

Ask most people employed in the sciences, whether they are scientists or science writers, and they will likely tell you that their journey began with exploring an empty back lot, playing with a chemistry set, or watching a rocket take off on television.They care about their respective fields because they have had personal, profound experience with their chosen topics.

My goal with my workshops and presentations is two-fold. First, I like to open students’ eyes to the wonder of everyday nature. I want them to see all they can learn about the natural world just by walking out the front door. Second, I hope to encourage students to see nonfiction writing not as necessary drudgery, but as a way to share their interests and expertise with others and an opportunity to express their creativity.

I offer science and writing workshops for classrooms and other small groups. All presentations support Common Core State Standards/Next Generation Science Standards.


Science Presentations
Slug, Tree, and Me (up to 30 students)
Life on Earth is amazingly diverse, yet shares many of the same biological processes and systems. In this presentation, we explore what makes something alive or not alive. We discuss similarities and differences among various living things, and we learn about how scientists use these distinctions to classify living things. Includes sorting activity. Grades K-2.

A Habitat is a Home (up to 30 students)
Every living thing needs a home—a habitat—that includes food, water, and shelter. In this presentation, we discuss the four “spheres” that come together to create a habitat. We explore our own habitat needs and how these needs are the same and different from common backyard wildlife. We also talk about simple ways to make our backyard and schoolyard habitats better. This workshop is great to use in conjunction with classroom or school-wide efforts to improve habitat on school grounds. Grades 3-5 or 6-8.


Writing Workshops
Eyes, Ears, Fingers, Nose: Using Your Senses to Be a Better Writer (up to 30 students)
Using well-placed sensory detail enriches any kind of writing, from playful picture book to dense historical article. It’s also a skill that is accessible to very young writers. This workshop examines the sensory details employed in favorite fiction and nonfiction texts and then gives students a chance to practice this skill themselves. Includes time to write and share work. Grades K-2.

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary: Writing Your Best Nonfiction (up to 30 students)
We don’t always think of nonfiction writing as a creative outlet, but nonfiction writers use many of the same craft techniques as fiction authors. This workshop celebrates the expertise of students and encourages them to share their knowledge with others. We talk about how fiction writers make their writing interesting and how we might employ those same methods in all our writing, from poetry to school reports. Includes time to write and share work. Grades 3-5 or 6-8.


The Fine Print
Presentations and workshops for K-2 generally last 30-45 minutes and those for grades 3 and up typically last 45-60 minutes. However, presentations can be tailored to fit a school’s or group’s particular needs.

Fees are as follows: $100/hour* or $500/school day (assumes approximately 6 hours including lunch). A school day can include any combination of presentations. I appreciate 5-10 minutes between presentations and ½ hour for lunch. The honorarium includes my prep time and follow-up interaction with students, which may take the form of letters, email conversations, or a Skype/FaceTime visit.
*Obviously not all presentations last an hour. This is just to give an idea of my basic rate. We can work out the exact details depending upon which combination of presentations/workshops/assemblies your group requests.

Travel expenses, when applicable:

  • Travel within one hour of Vancouver, Washington is included in the honorarium.
  • For locations 1-2 hours from Vancouver, travel charges to cover mileage and a meal will be added.
  • Locations more than 2 hours from Vancouver may require an overnight stay. Travel charges will include mileage and at least two meals, as well as hotel if needed. Airfare will be included when required.

A note about costs: School visits are an important income generator for most authors. That said, I know that budgets are tight and I want to be able to hang out with you and your students. If cost is a concern, or if you have other questions, please contact me and let’s see what we can work out.