Barb Lachenbruch is astonished and entertained by the natural world, but the nature of human drive perplexes her. She writes fiction and personal essays. Semi-retired from her position as professor of tree physiology and forest ecology, she straddles life between town and her off-grid cabin in the woods.
Barb grew up in a quiet corner of Los Altos Hills, California, a town on the border between road-less chaparral and Silicon Valley. She cut apricots in the orchards as her first paying job. California was in her veins–she did her PhD on poison oak. she earned biology degrees from Swarthmore (BA), University of Alaska Fairbanks (MS), and Stanford (PhD) and did a post-doc at UC Berkeley, but her path also meandered through Texas, New Hampshire, and an indigenous village in Guatemala for the Peace Corps.
She moved to Corvallis for a faculty position at Oregon State University. There, she raised two children and was an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor in Wood Science & Engineering and Forest Ecosystems & Society. Her research focused on wood quality, and structure and function relationships in plants, especially related to biomechanics and water transport. Her teaching included wood anatomy, tree physiology, forest biology, issues in renewable resources, and forests and civilization. She recently retired but still works part-time on manuscripts.
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