Dr. Jennifer Frick-Ruppert is the Dalton Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Brevard College in western North Carolina, where she has taught since 1997. She earned her Ph.D. in Zoology from Clemson University. She teaches courses in environmental perspectives, biodiversity, biology, and natural history and was awarded the 2003-2004 Award for Exemplary Teaching at Brevard College. She is a frequent presenter for naturalist groups, including the Roan Mountain Naturalist Rally, NC Native Plant Society, and The Wilderness Society.
Originally from South Carolina, she grew up with a love of nature and the outdoors that was fostered by her close-knit family. She listened to story after story around campfires, barbeque pits, and fishing ponds and is now telling her own stories to other listeners. Her writings all have a strong sense of the natural world, and she explores how people interact with nature. Since she is a professional biologist as well as a award-winning teacher, her writings can be trusted for their accuracy in addition to their engaging portrayals.
She has authored websites for South Carolina Educational Television and wrote a regular column for The Transylvania Times, Brevard’s local newspaper. She has written several scientific articles, the most recent co-authored with her undergraduate students; one of these compared the caloric values of native fruits, another examined diet of coyotes in the Southern Appalachians, and a third focused on the biology of the Blue Ghost Firefly.
In 2010, she published Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians. Illustrated with both color and black-and-white images, it conveys the seasonal change in animals and plants of the region, emphasizing their interactions and unique characteristics. It received several notable reviews for its quality and lively writing style and was a finalist in the Philip Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing about the Southern Environment.
In 2015, she published Waterways: Sailing the Southeastern Coast. Like Mountain Nature, it centers on natural history, but it is a story of a single cruise that she made with her husband aboard their sailboat Velella when they sailed from Charleston, SC to Lake Worth, FL across to the Bahamas and back to Beaufort, SC. It relates their joy in seeing the natural world while learning to sail, it reflects on environmental changes and concerns, and it discusses the value of understanding the interrelationships of humans and nature.
Her newest book is Spirit Quest. It is historical fiction and designed for middle grade and young adult readers. Skyco was an Algonquin boy who was kidnapped by the first English explorers to the Americas, held for several months to force the cooperation of the natives in the region, and then released when the English returned to England. The book describes the region of North Carolina and the Algonquin people before the English arrival.