I was born in the late 50s and raised in southern Illinois. After high school I attended Southern Illinois University on a music scholarship, but studied there only one semester. I felt I needed to experience more than Illinois.
From 1977 to 1979 I lived in San Francisco and Oakland, California, where I worked at a credit union and attended the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1979 I took my first cross country bicycle ride, from Portland, Oregon, to Illinois. I then moved to Fairbanks, Alaska, to attend the University of Alaska.
In Alaska I earned my BS in biology and performed ecological research at the Institute of Arctic Biology.
Upon graduating in 1983, I took my second big bike ride, this time from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Illinois.
I had various jobs in St. Louis, including working at Monsanto, K&S Photographics, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Center for Plant Conservation.
In 1992 I bought my house in St. Louis and rented it out when I moved to Houston, Texas, in 1993. I worked as the botanist for Harris County at Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Garden, where, among other duties, I taught botany classes for adults. I decided I liked teaching so I earned my teaching certificate and started my first teaching job at Klein Oak High School.
In 1999 I returned to my house in St. Louis and began my teaching career at Webster Groves High School.
I retired in 2018.