Bonta, Marcia Myers 1940-

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BONTA, Marcia Myers 1940-

PERSONAL: Born July 11, 1940, in Camden, NJ; daughter of Harold C. (a chemical engineer) and Leona (a homemaker; maiden name, Deibert) Myers; married Bruce D. Bonta, August 25, 1962; children: Steven Christopher, David Jeffrey, Mark Andrew. Ethnicity: "Northern European." Education: Bucknell University, A.B., 1962. Politics: Independent. Religion: Protestant.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—P.O. Box 68, Tyrone, PA 16686. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Freelance nature writer, 1977—.

MEMBER: Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association (member of board of directors, 1992-94), Juniata Valley Audubon Society (vice president, 1983-84; president, 1984-88; member of board of directors, 1988-96).

AWARDS, HONORS: Book of the year award from Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, 1989, for Outbound Journeys in Pennsylvania.

WRITINGS:

Escape to the Mountain, A. S. Barnes (San Diego, CA), 1980.

Outbound Journeys in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 1988.

Appalachian Spring, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1991.

Women in the Field: America's Pioneering Women Naturalists, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1991.

Appalachian Autumn, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1994.

(Editor) American Women Afield: Writings by Pioneering Women Naturalists, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1995.

More Outbound Journeys in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 1995.

Appalachian Summer, University of Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1999.

Editor of the "Pitt Series on Nature and Natural History," University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990-98. Contributor of more than three hundred articles to state and national magazines.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Research for Appalachian Winter.

SIDELIGHTS: Marcia Myers Bonta told CA: "I am a naturalist first and a writer second. I began writing to educate people about the wonders of the natural world, specifically about the wonders in their own backyards. My Appalachian books examine the seasons on one Pennsylvania mountaintop, with the hope that readers will be inspired to look more closely at the natural world wherever they live.

"My 'outbound journeys' books are detailed guides to the outstanding natural areas of Pennsylvania. I wrote them (and a longstanding magazine column) to encourage people to do more than just experience the outdoors through sports. At the time I started this work, Pennsylvania was overlooked by the national media as a state full of natural beauty. I wanted to change the image many outsiders had of our state as a megalopolis on either end with coal mines in the middle.

"Because I spend several hours every day walking and observing in the woods, a pastime most women of my generation are not interested in, I began looking for women of past generations who were similarly obsessed with the natural world. I traveled to archives all over the United States and read all that I could find by women. Much of it was so interesting, yet unavailable to the average person. From this research I eventually wrote two books about women in the field. I am hoping that both books, written for a popular audience, are used in high school and college classrooms to inspire a new generation of women in the field.

"I cannot imagine writing books that are not connected with the natural world. I want people to understand what they are losing as humanity swarms over the remaining untouched wilderness areas or seeks to make a profit from even the wildest, most beautiful places on earth. I also want people to protest such obscenities as the malling of America and the creeping suburbanization that is engulfing close-to-home natural areas. In short, I am a missionary for the natural world."