Meghan Walla-Murphy grew up roaming the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County. This landscape’s dry ruggedness and abundant biodiversity deeply shaped Meghan’s ethic of respect for both ecology and human communities. She learned the destructive impact of humanity, but also how humans can be an integral part of a healthy eco-system.
Meghan graduated from the University of California in Santa Cruz with a double major in in biology and Asian history. Her education provided her the opportunity to travel to Nepal to study the effects of over-grazing in the Himalayas and work with northern elephant seals at Ano Nuevo.
Meghan was co-director of a 501c3 outdoor education company- the Wilderness Outdoor Leadership Foundation (WOLF)- a position she held and cultivated for the following six years. In addition to learning business and management skills, during this time she studied with herbalists, trackers, storytellers, and elders. Differing from her experience in college, Meghan was mentored by people who interacted with nature rather than researched it.
Meghan co-created a 6th, 7th, and 8th grade school that addressed the needs of the whole child- Topanga Mountain School. She created and implemented a three-year curriculum as well as trained school staff. Incorporating what she had learned from elders, trackers and storytellers, Meghan developed a holistic program that met California’s state requirements as well as the needs of a growing creative pre-teen.
Four and half years after her work began at Topanga Mountain School, Meghan decided to dive more deeply into her passions of tracking and writing. She resumed extensive travel and apprenticed under trackers and writers around the United States, Brazil, and South Africa. In two different trips Meghan lived in South Africa for months at a time as both teacher and student. Between international travel, she also worked with Dr. James Halfpenny in Yellowstone and co-authored the book, Track Plates for Mammals.
Meghan attained her MFA in non-fiction writing from Lesley University in 2011, while she continued to be an environmental and educational consultant for museums, schools, and universities.
In her writing, Meghan strives to take her personal stories and make them relevant to universal experiences. With a fierce commitment towards environmental and cultural change, Meghan works not only to disrupt unhealthy habitual cultural patterns, but to also renew her readers with compassion and connection. “Writing is gift. It is also a tool to create connection, elicit change and potentially destabilize the norm. Like tracking, writing is a lifelong endeavor that parallels the journey of being human. It challenges, celebrates, and questions all of our fears and triumphs. The practice of writing opens doorways into both our internal and external landscapes and offers new perspectives.”