Marcia Bonta is the author of nine books, which are all currently in print, and over 300 magazine articles. The blog portion of this website includes her popular “Naturalist’s Eye” column from Pennsylvania Game News, the publication of the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). Unlike typical blog entries, these columns are written months in advance, usually about things that happened during the previous year.
“The Naturalist’s Eye” first appeared in January 1993, as a successor to Charles Fergus‘ “Thornapples” column, and hasn’t skipped a month since. Eventually we hope to have a complete electronic archive here. Marcia has recycled only a small portion of these meticulously researched articles into her latter three Appalachian Seasons books.
Because the PGC has responsiblity for the conservation of all terrestrial wildlife except for reptiles and amphibians, which are under the aegis of the Fish & Boat Commission, the Game News prefers that Marcia not cover herpetofauna so as not to antagonize their sister agency. But there have been some exceptions granted over the years.
These online versions of “The Naturalist’s Eye” are derived from the text files Marcia emails to her editor, Robert C. Mitchell, and therefore do not contain his deft editorial changes — nor the illustrations by award-winning wildlife artist G. W. Putt. Subscriptions to Game News are $12/year, and can be ordered online.
This website replaces an earlier site on Geocites. It was inaugurated in January, 2007, and the following month, Marcia decided to start posting some other material in the blog besides Game News columns, such as journal excerpts and brief book reviews.
Marcia Bonta was born and raised in the wooded fringes of a suburban South Jersey town, Woodbury, NJ. Daughter of Harold and Leona Myers, she inherited her father’s love for forests, streams and swamps. Her earliest memories are of a childhood enchantment with nature.
She went to Bucknell University because she loved the natural beauty of central Pennsylvania. Her college education gave her a broad knowledge of the liberal arts, a B.A. degree, and a husband, Bruce, whose jobs took the family to Washington, DC, Maine, and, since 1971, back to central PA. They raised their three sons on an isolated, forest-covered, mountaintop farm near Tyrone, where, inspired by the works of such authors as Hal Borland, Edwin Way Teale, Joseph Wood Krutch and Rachel Carson, Marcia began a writing career based on her daily explorations of the natural world.
Marcia wrote weekly columns for local newspapers for ten years before changing her career emphasis to books, magazine articles, lecturing and slide shows on nature and natural history topics. Her work has been reproduced in a number of anthologies, and she has received several awards for her writing. But she treasures most the letters, calls and conversations with people who have been moved by her writing or her slide shows to appreciate nature more strongly, and to join her in trying to protect the natural world.