Jacoba Charles

Jacoba Charles

Writing for Estuary News has been a pleasure and a privilege. Each article has deepened my relationship with the San Francisco Bay Area. Although I was born and raised here, my relationship with this landscape is constantly evolving. My reporting is rooted in gaining a fresh perspective on the place each story is set in. When I put my “reporter hat” on, I interact with place in a way that is very different from in my off-duty life: both more detailed and more intimate. And the moments in time in the landscapes I move through become a vivid part of my life experience. One dramatic example of that is reporting on the aftermath of the 2017 Tubbs fire. I can still see the unimaginably reshaped landscape—and not just the landscape, but individual details (a white fence turned largely to ash, a charred tree fallen across a small river, unexpected pockets of untouched trees in a blackened canyon. And of course the thick, musty, clinging smell of the extinguished fire).

Another story that stays with me is that of the Invasive Spartina Project. This has been a pleasure to report, appealing to both the poetics of place and also the extreme detail of the science geek. This story smells like the muddy tang of salt marsh, and took me to many interesting and out-of-the-way fringes of the Bay. It is a story of scientific vision, long-term dedication, and productive collaboration—much like Estuary News itself.

— Jacoba Charles

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About the author

Jacoba Charles is a naturalist and science writer. Her first article, at age eight, was about the behavior of ducks as observed from the roof of her family’s barn. It went unpublished. She later graduated from the Columbia School of Journalism (2007). In addition to writing for Estuary News, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon, and Modern Farmer, Bay Nature, Marin Magazine, and various literary publications. Her botany blog can be found at flowersofmarin.com and her website is jacobacharles.com. She lives in Petaluma with her family.

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