Tom in Amazon waist deep-1


A Holyoke native, we moved to the “country” early on. Since 5th grade at the Chapin Street School (now missing) in Chicopee, I thought I wanted to be a Herpetologist. Someone should have straightened me out then. I survived Easthampton High School and then went to UMass majoring in Zoology where it was clear the focus was in cells and genes—important enough, but I was interested in whole animals. I switched to Wildlife Biology and came under the tutelage of Wendell Dodge and others. Though it was a classic “fish and game” only program, at least there were classes on habitat, management, and populations of living animals.

    In 1975 I lucked into a naturalist position with Massachusetts Audubon and spent 24 years, moving from Laughing Brook in Hampden to Pleasant Valley and Canoe Meadows in the Berkshires. It was my “big move west.” For most of those years I produced a weekly Nature column for the Springfield Newspapers, wrote A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in the Stokes Nature Guide Series, and taught courses at Springfield College and Antioch Graduate School. Eventually I moved into a Master Naturalist position for Audubon working statewide and also began leading natural history tours to exotic locales in Peru, Ecuador, and other South, Central, and North American hotspots. 

    I went back to UMass and managed to eek out a graduate degree in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program with my thesis concentrating on Timber Rattlesnakes in Western MA. In 1999 I secured a tenure-track position in the Environmental Science Department at Berkshire Community College where I still exist to this day. My email is at the top: Send money.

  © Tom Tyning 2013