Gretchen became intrigued by plants, animals, and the out-of-doors at an early age while growing up in the San Francisco Bay area. Tolerant and encouraging parents permitted almost any pet imaginable, which provided excellent opportunities for her to observe animal behavior. Later, at the University of California, Davis, she focused her studies on zoology before completing a Master of Science degree in wildlife biology at Humboldt State University. As a graduate student, through a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant, she researched the feeding ecology of mallards and northern pintails, a project that combined her interests in ornithology, botany, and invertebrate zoology - all lifelong passions that she still pursues today.
Gretchen worked seasonally as a national park ranger from Yosemite and the Rocky Mountains to the Everglades and Alaska. In Denali, she patrolled the wilderness by foot as a backcountry ranger and subsequently assisted as a naturalist at Camp Denali, a wilderness lodge in the heart of the park.
Her first expedition with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic was in 1990, and she has been hooked ever since. She annually migrates from Baja California to Alaska and has traveled from the high Arctic to Antarctica, the tropics, and many destinations in between. Her life is intricately intertwined with that of her biologist husband, Pete, who shares her enthusiasm for natural history and exploration of our fabulous and fragile planet. When not on ships, they concentrate on appreciating nature near their home in Bend, Oregon, and on journeys elsewhere in the world.
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