PUBLISHED: 1:37 PM on Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Telling the stories of southeast Alaskan creatures

Photo by Amanda Gragert
  Marge Hermans enjoying the outdoors in Juneau.
After living her dream of coming to Alaska, Marge Hermans is now helping tell the secrets of the southeast.

Hermans, along with Robert Armstrong wrote "Southeast Alaska's Natural World," which features information and photographs of the area's plants, birds, fish and other wildlife.

Hermans said she met Armstrong when she interviewed him for magazine articles about birds. After working together on a series of articles, the duo wrote the small book "Alaska's Natural Wonders."

"We had so much fun exploring and discovering what is around us," Hermans said.

"We decided to publish it ourselves and we oversaw the whole process from start to finish. To be able to create something they way you envision it was exciting."

Hermans said the book contains information on subjects such as what happens to salmon during the winter to various kinds of slime mold.

"One day I was walking in the forest and saw what looked like scrambled eggs thrown on the ground.

"We did the research and found that it was slime mold," Hermans said. "The book is just about seeing the things around that peaked our interest."

She said learning about porcupines and dragonflies also was amusing.

"I was curious about porcupines and we discovered that they're really clumsy. They fall down a lot," Hermans said with a laugh.

Learning about the inner workings of nature and its habitants is part of what intrigued Hermans to move to Alaska in the 1970s. She said she was intrigued as a child after reading books set in Alaska.

"It just sounded so big and exciting. I wanted to build a cabin in the woods, which I have, and the massive landscape was appealing to me," Hermans said.

She said working with Armstrong on the book has helped bring out the beauty of the southeast that she moved to be part of.

"He doesn't just get pretty pictures, but he gets photos of animal behavior," Hermans said. "It's been so wonderful to see the response from the southeast. It's been very satisfying for us to put something like that together and share it."