About the Author

Who am I? This is the type of question one has to answer in cover letters and university applications. It is a question I am never comfortable with, but I suppose it is a question that is important to answer.

Climbing into to the jungle canopy in Peru

More than anything, I am an inquisitive primate that is happiest learning new things, being in new environments, and having my preconceptions challenged. I am enamored of the natural world across all scales. I am deeply concerned with our place within the environment and the increasing lack of contact with and awareness of how deeply intertwined our own fate is with the fate of the global environment.

Growing up my family moved often, by the time I was 8 I had been to or through every US state but Hawaii and Colorado. Most of my life my questions have begun with “Why” and in new environments some of my first questions are along the lines of “What is that, is it edible, is it poisonous, and what is used for?” I want to know who people are and why they think the way they do. I want to learn what others know and share the joy of learning. I want to know why the world works the way it does, and I relish the fact that I can never fully know how it works.

In the TianShan range in Xinjiang

I have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters of Science from the Field Naturalist/Ecological Planning program at the University of Vermont. I’ve been an archeologist in California, a university instructor in China, the cellar-master of a small California winery, tracked bears in the Ecuadorian cloud forest, helped to set up a neo-tropical research station in the Peruvian Amazon, rafted down Bolivian rivers on hand-built balsa rafts, designed climate change based botanical monitoring protocols for the National Park Service, and led a survey team on the Juneau Ice-Fields in southeast Alaska as part of a JIRP expedition. I have worked on wildlife connectivity in the northeastern US, and was hired for a conservation position in Kalimantan that fell apart shortly after I moved to the opposite side of the planet.  All in all, I have been fortunate enough to see some amazing things along the way and hope to see many more.

Jumping a crevasse in the Gilkey Trench

I read too much, am working on my photography, and can build nearly anything I need as long as I have a knife, some rope, and time. I am not in a hurry, but there are things I want to do with my life.

My name is Neahga Leonard and I want to leave the world a better place than it was when I came into it.

Rest break in the Bolivian jungle.

9 comments on “About the Author

  1. Kathleen B. says:

    Hello, there. I’m not a blogger and so my apologies for not even knowing your name; I can’t seem to find it on your blog! I’m looking at possible photos to use for my company’s website and my team really loves your “Misty lake waters in a New England fall.” What would it take for us to use this photo on our website? Thanks for your help and I look forward to hearing from you.

    • EarthKnight says:

      Hi Kathleen,
      My name is Neahga Leonard, it’s in the last sentence of this page.

      Thank you for your interest, let’s continue the discussion via email.

  2. Anna says:

    Hi Neahga!
    We met you on the boat to Cat Ba Island and had an interesting talk (well, your talk was pretty much more interesting :-) ). I am sitting in my office in Dusseldorf, Germany, right now, just looked out the window and for some reason I remembered you telling about your blog. I think it was my wanderlust making me think of the Vietnam trip. So I googled your blog… and… what can I say… I am just overwhelmed by your photos, your experiences and your way of life you choosed to live.
    Just keep on doing so!
    Hope you have a great time over there!

    Anna & Daniel

    • EarthKnight says:

      Hi Anna,

      I recall you and Daniel well. Thanks for the excellent compliments!!

      I hope the two of you enjoyed Vietnam and the rest of your travels. There is a chance I’ll be in Germany sometime later in the year. If so I may send you an email :)

  3. Hi Neahga, this is an inspiring account of your journeying through ‘earth’s quests. Your blog is informative and i admire your tenacity and outlook. This anthropocene epoch and the rate of species extinctions is alarming. I have an interest in non-human primates, and here in the Cape particularly the Chacma baboons. You have caught my interest in your new location and work with the Cat Ba langurs. I have seen pictures of them, but didn’t know that they are so critically endangered. I see that you have a ‘reblog’ button and i don’t see any copyright notices on your site so i’m assuming that it’s okay to reblog your latest entry.

    • EarthKnight says:

      Hello, thank you for the kind words. The Cape Baboons are fascinating, I wish you the best in your work with them.

      The situation with the Cat Ba Langur is dire, but that also makes the work that much more interesting and pressing.

      You, and anyone, are more than welcome to reblog anything I’ve written. The only thing I ask is that if you use photos out of context that they are credited accordingly.

      • Greetings through the ether Neahga. I’ll be following your work with interest. Will certainly respect your wishes on photo accreditation. The terrain you’re working in there looks challenging… much luck to you too. Liz.

      • EarthKnight says:

        Thank you Liz. It looks like you have an interesting life as well. I am a little envious of the diversity and size of the wildlife you have in South Africa. Maybe I’ll get a chance to visit and see it first hand at some point.

  4. You’ve quite an adventurous life, and I loved your About page. As a nature lover myself, I hope to do all this someday.

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