Navigation Links Navigation Links

Collage of plants and animals  
About the Yosemite Naturalist


Michael arrived in Yosemite in 1975, a recent graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Conservation of Natural Resources. After teaching environmental education to school students for Yosemite Institute he then worked as a seasonal park ranger before starting a career teaching field classes for the Yosemite Association (now called the Yosemite Conservancy).

Over that time Michael has taught field courses in wildflower identification, bird ecology, the natural history of insects and other invertebrates, aquatic ecology, general natural history of specific park locations, including his popular alpine ecology treks.

During most of this time Michael and his wife Lisa have resided in a home along the Merced River in the town of El Portal at Yosemite’s western boundary. He is the author of more than 40 books for young people (see, as well as several guides for adults, including Yosemite Trivia Book (Riverbend Publishing).

Michael on the Merced River

Michael has served as a consultant, fact-checker, location scout, and a “local expert” on and off screen for crews filming in Yosemite National Park. He has worked with the Travel Channel, California Gold (PBS), Gulo Productions, Conde Nast Traveler, and Fuji TV.

All film crews in Yosemite must obtain a permit from the National Park Service

Over his years in the park Michael has been equally enthusiastic about his discoveries of new plants or bird species within the park boundaries and “discoveries” of the people he guides in Yosemite.

Here are two of Michael's books
about Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Trivia

Yosemite National Park is full of wonder-- so is this book. Ever wonder which Yosemite plant smells like stinky feet? Or why certain species of Yosemite cricket will die if you hold them in your hand? Did you know that toads and squirrels are roommates in Yosemite.

In this book you’ll find out the roles of John Muir, Ansel Adams, Robert Redford, Moses, and some kid named Elmer played in the park’s history.You’ll learn about the park’s tallest cliffs, highest waterfalls, largest trees, record climbs, famous people, great events and more!

Hundreds of lively questions and answers will keep you entertained wherever you go. This book is the fun-tastic way to learn about Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Trivia book cover   Baby Bear ISN"T Hungry book cover

Baby Bear ISN'T Hungry (ages 1-7)

Baby Bear is a very curious cub. Mama bear eats and eats after sleeping all winter, but Baby Bear is having too much fun exploring and playing to want a meal. What will Baby Bear discover? Will she ever be hungry?   
Consie Powell’s charming artwork illustrates this sweet story of a new cub in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Naturalis Logo



Home Bio Yosemite National Park Testimonies Links Contact Yosemite Naturalist Services