Marnie Reed Crowell
Marnie Reed Crowell (born 1939 in Grafton, Massachusetts) is a conservationist, natural history writer and poet.
Crowell’s first book, Greener Pastures (Funk & Wagnalls 1973), described life on their Canton, New York farm as what she called nouveau rurals in the '70s back-to-the-land movement. Widely quoted in sources ranging from astrology predictions to Redbook magazine, Greener Pastures was excerpted in Readers’ Digest, anthologized, and used in rural studies courses at St. Lawrence University.
Great Blue, The Odyssey of a Great Blue Heron (Times Books, 1979) describes the migration of a great blue heron to the Caribbean. Her other books include Flycasting for Everyone, (Gary Lewis with Marnie Reed Crowell & Peter McNair, Stackpole 1997)
The Nature Conservancy
A charter member of the Laurentian chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club and life member of The Nature Conservancy, for years Marnie and her husband gave nature walks on behalf of TNC. Either by conservation easements, gifts of land, or spearheading campaigns, Marnie and her husband have been involved in securing protection for a waterfall, several islands, and hundreds of acres of wild lands. Quick Key to Birds(1997) and Quick Key to Butterflies and Moths(2002) were written for the Deer Isle Conservation Commission. Mark Island Light (1998) was written to help Island Heritage Trust acquire and protect the lighthouse, of which Marnie Crowell was the first steward. In 2010 Marnie and her husband Ken were awarded the trust’s Roland Wakefield Award as outstanding conservation volunteers.
Shared Light, Images of Penobscot Bay, and Shore Lines are Threehalf Press poetry collaborations with photographer Ann Flewelling. Crowell’s bird poems accompany Audubon prints in the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, and she was commissioned to write a poem for the 2007 opening of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, Verona, Maine. A Sky of Birds, Downeast Images (Threehalf Press, 2011) was produced for the Downeast Chapter of Audubon, with bird photographs by chapter members accompanying Crowell’s bird poems. Beads and String, A Maine Island Pilgrimage (Threehalf Press 2008) is a collection of Crowell’s poems and essays about the nature preserves of Deer Isle.
Natural history columns
For years Marnie Reed Crowell wrote natural history columns for local newspapers, the St. Lawrence Plaindealer and Island Advantages. Her many articles appear in newspapers and magazines, such as Redbook, Readers Digest, Natural History, Down East, and Island Institute’s The Working Waterfront.
Storytelling Festival series
She hosted and produced the Satellite Distribution award-winning North Country Storytelling Festival series for National Public Radio at WSLU-FM. With Racquet Press, the small press venture she formed with two friends while she lived in Canton, New York, Crowell produced North to the St Lawrence, a North Country best seller used in 7th grade social studies classes in the area, and subject of a three-part television series for the area public television station. For St. Lawrence University's Fiction International writers workshops she gave sessions on establishing independent small presses.
Crowell attended several years of Saturday classes at the Philadelphia Museum School and while a graduate student she studied with Albert Sandecki. She illustrated several of her books and her work has been exhibited at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Frederic Remington Art Museum.
A moonlit ice skating accident in 1999 left her with a Traumatic Brain Injury. Her subsequent recovery is described in Crowell’s novel, The Coast of May (Threehalf Press, 2010). When her recovery was well under way she wrote many poems that she wanted to publish with photographs of the area’s wild places. At about the same time, photographer and clinical psychologist Dr. Ann Flewelling contacted Crowell about the meditation classes Marnie was offering. The two subsequently formed Threehalf Press, dedicated to using new media to produce art that speaks for the environment. Island Meditation (Threehalf Press 2011), originally crafted for the local medical center and adult continuing education program, surveys world-wide meditation techniques including those from Crowell’s trips to China.
Marnie Reed Crowell's teaching career spans high school biology and Latin in Pennsauken, New Jersey, a Vermont one-room school, various New York state gifted enrichment programs, Empire State College, St. Lawrence University January Interterm courses, SLU’s Fiction international programs, and volunteering at Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, a medium-security state prison.
Iroquois and Wabenaki Indian baskets
The study of old Iroquois and Wabenaki Indian baskets was for many years an interest of Crowell’s. Baskets donated from the Crowell collection now form significant portions of the holdings of the Akwesasne Cultural Center Museum in Hogansburg, New York, the Maine State Museum in Augusta, the Hudson Museum of the University of Maine at Orono, and the Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society.
Life and education
She grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey and majored in biology at Randolph-Macon Woman's College, graduating cum laude. She received the M.S. in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and married ecologist Dr. Kenneth L.Crowell in 1962. The Crowells have two sons, David who owns The World Artisan fair trade shop and gallery, and Tom who works for Columbia Land Conservancy. Each is now married with two children.