Tom Schaefer


Tom Schaefer

Tom Schaefer first came to Hog Island in 1981 under scholarship from the Dayton Audubon Society. By that time he had nine years of teaching junior high school English under his belt and was working on a graduate degree at Wright State University. It was there that spring where he got an eye-opening dose of Emily Dickinson in an evening workshop taught by one of his staff favorites. Tom looks back at this brief period as an absolute life-changer.

He went on to serve on the board of Dayton Audubon for over a decade while also taking a position on the board of the short-lived Audubon Ohio. He has made multiple presentations to Hog Island campers during his research for Nature’s People, while being lucky enough to facilitate the Nature Journaling & Literature track for a couple of summers after he retired from the classroom.

Tom and his wife Cindy Cooke continue to make their home in Dayton, but now are snowbirds on Hilton Head Island in winter. As a born-and-bred Midwesterner who does his best to get to know birds, trees, and wildflowers wherever he goes, he will be reflecting on all that beautiful diversity in his earthspeaks blog.

Tom started his writing life as a poet and travel journalist. He published A forest of ferns, a little book of poetry, after his month as artist-in-residence on Hog Island in 2014. Other verse has appeared in Letters to the World, a collaborative work of Tom’s and his writers’ group, Emily’s Boys. With Nature’s People complete, he hopes to turn his attention to making his poetry a bit more public.

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