About the Author

I’ve been telling stories of one sort or another for as long as I can remember. But I didn’t get serious until 1979, when I decided that I wanted to change careers, leave my job as a budget analyst for the State of Illinois and become a public radio reporter. In the process of earning a master’s in public affairs reporting from U of I-Springfield, I covered the demise of the Equal Rights Amendment in the Illinois legislature as an NPR stringer, one of the more depressing stories that I ever wrote.

The following fall, 1980, I landed in Worcester, Mass., as news director for WICN-FM, then lost my job nine months later when the Reagan Administration cut funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Not one to give up easily, I teamed up with the station manager of WFCR-FM in Amherst, Mass., to form a consortium of four regional NPR affiliates, Massachusetts Public Radio.

With funding from the Massachusetts Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy, I created more than 60 series about issues throughout the Commonwealth, ranging from siting of hazardous waste facilities to the political influence of the Boston Globe. All of the stories placed current events in a historical and cultural context—an approach to reporting that eventually shaped my book, Trees at Risk.

After two rounds of grant funding, I decided to leave public radio and switch to print journalism, and developed a specialty writing about the environment. At first I was focused on water quality, and my Worcester Magazine cover story, “A Dam Shame,” about issues with the city’s water supply, won a first place New England Press Association award in 1979. Then I began to notice the problems with Worcester’s trees.

While writing the manuscript for Trees at Risk, I also taught feature writing and journalism at Clark University. Shortly after the book was completed, I left teaching and freelancing to become Director of Marketing and Communications at Hebrew College in 1997—a position I held until February 2010. Now, once again, I’m back to writing and consulting, focused on helping small  businesses and non-profits promote their good works. And every morning, before I get down to the business of supporting my family, I work on my own creative writing—finally, my own stories.

Evelyn Herwitz

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