Mary Ellen Hannibal ’81 is an award-winning environmental author of five books, and frequent writer for many publications, including The New York Times and Science. She also teaches at the California College of the Arts and the Fromm Institute in San Francisco. At Smith, Mary Ellen studied English literature, and was a fan of visiting the botanic garden.
Mary Ellen’s book The Spine of the Continent tells the story of how the science of conservation biology developed in the American West. Her subsequent book, Citizen Scientist, is focused primarily on California, but as nature is interconnected in time and space, so is her story personal as well as global. She is a creator and writer of “Nature in the City,” a spatio-temporal map of San Francisco, which synthesizes more than 40 maps of the terrain and tells stories of change over time. She has received an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship and a Stanford University Media Fellowship, and received the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science and Society Award and Stanford University’s Knight-Risser Prize.
Mary Ellen supports the Botanic Garden of Smith College by serving on the Friends Leadership Council as a member of the Alum Engagement Committee.