Robert Michael Pyle

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Robert Michael Pyle (born July 19, 1947 in Denver, Colorado) is a lepidopterist and author living in Grays River, Washington who has published twelve books and hundreds of papers, essays, stories and poems. He has a Ph.D. from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He founded the Xerces Society in 1974. His 1987 book Wintergreen describes the devastation caused by unrestrained logging in Washington's Willapa Hills near his adopted home. His 1995 book Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide was the subject of a Guggenheim Fellowship. On nearly 25 occasions from 1976 to 2013, Pyle has been a presenter and field trip leader at the annual week-long Family Nature Summits.

Pyle's 1998 The Thunder Tree: Lessons from An Urban Wildland chronicled the intersection of his Aurora boyhood nature explorations and Colorado's long tradition of water rights battles. The following year his naturalist travel journal Chasing Monarchs: Migrating with the Butterflies of Passage traced his discovery of previously unnoticed monarch migration patterns. In 2010, Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year chronicled his coast to coast adventures and misadventures in 2008 while documenting as many native butterflies as possible (similar to a birder's big year.)

Awards and honors[edit]

Primary Source[edit]


Secondary sources[edit]

  • Kuhlken, Robert. 2002. Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 275, Twentieth-Century American Nature Writers: Prose, pp. 261–270. Detroit: Gale.
  • Pyle, Robert Michael (ed. Scott Slovic, Scott). 2000. Walking the High Ridge: Life as a Field Trip, pp.  51-53, 119–146. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions.


  • Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year. 2010. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place." 2007. Houghton Mifflin.
  • The Butterflies of Cascadia: A Field Guide to All the Species of Washington, Oregon, and Surrounding Territories. 2002. Seattle Audubon Society.
  • Nabokov's Butterflies. Edited and annotated by Pyle and Brian Boyd, with new translations from the Russian by Dmitri Nabokov. 2000. Beacon Press.
  • Walking the High Ridge: Life As Field Trip. 2000. Milkweed Editions.
  • Chasing Monarchs: A Migration with the Butterflies of Passage. 1999. Houghton Mifflin.
  • The Thunder Tree: Lessons from An Urban Wildland. 1998. Lyons Press.
  • Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide. 1995. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Insects: A Peterson Field Guide Coloring Book. 1993. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Handbook for Butterfly Watchers. 1992. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Wintergreen: Listening to the Land's Heart. 1987. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Butterflies: A Peterson Field Guide Coloring Book. (With Sarah Anne Hughes and Roger Tory Peterson). 1983. Houghton Mifflin.
  • The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies. 1981. Knopf.

Other contributions[edit]

  • Wild in the City (2000). Oregon Historical Society. (Introduction, "No vacancy," and chapter, "Bright Butterflies, Big City.")
  • Nature's Fading Chorus: Classic and Contemporary Writings on Amphibians (2000). Island Press. (Prologue, "Reflections in a Golden Eye," and chapter, "Waterproof Wildlife.")
  • Facing the Lion: Writers on Life and Craft (1996). Beacon Press.(essay "Secrets of the Talking Leaf")
  • Words From the Land, Volume II (1995). University of Nevada Press. (essay "A Grand Surprise")
  • The Norton Book of Nature Writing (1990). Ed. J. Elder, R. Finch. Norton. (essay "And the Coyotes Will Lift A Leg")
  • Butterfly Gardening: Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden (1990; new edition, 1998). Xerces Society/Sierra Club Books. (Afterword and chapter "Butterfly Watching Tips")
  • The Art of the Butterfly (1990). Chronicle/Marquand. (Afterword)