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February 12, 2011, is the 202nd anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth. Celebrate with a Darwin Day event near you!

Curious what Darwin ate on his adventures? Check out the Recipe Book.

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About Eric Simons

I grew up exploring the creeks and pastures in the hills east of the San Francisco Bay, wandering around picking at bones and gathering frogs and developing an appreciation for nature, except for the parts infested with angry cows and poison oak. As my appreciation grew, I started going on longer overnight backpacking trips, and I spent many of my summers in high school and college tinkering with degrees of difficulty for outdoor adventures. ("So let's see, we're flying into the arctic wilderness, we've got the map, the tent ... did anyone bring the food??") All that outdoor stuff fully vested when I started following Darwin around; not only did I have a visceral understanding of his pastoral English childhood, but I was a lot better at staying cheerful while hiking up and down desolate, element-battered South American mountains.

I went to college at the University of California Santa Barbara, an outdoorsperson's paradise (well, anyone's paradise), where I could surf from my balcony in the morning and hike up into the mountains to watch the sunset and stargaze in the same evening. I rather vividly remember my entire dorm wing deciding not to study for a chemistry final because the surf was good, which is the kind of problem they don't really have at most other schools, and which is probably why I ended up as a writer instead of a chemist.

When I wasn't goofing off outdoors, I was working at the student paper, and sometime around my last year at UCSB, I got the idea that I could combine the two after graduation by becoming an outdoors writer. For a few years post-graduation I worked nights as a copy editor at a Bay Area newspaper chain and freelanced outdoors stories by day for the Los Angeles Times, Canoe & Kayak magazine, and others, writing about things like the world championships of elk bugling (peewee division) and the world's foremost band of pirate-themed extreme ocean kayakers.

And that was pretty much that. I went back to school in 2006 to get a masters in environmental and science journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley (graduated in 2008), and since then I've mostly been writing for magazines in the Bay Area.

If I'm not answering the phone, it probably means I'm out running or playing ice hockey, or that the San Jose Sharks are on television.

More about me, including magazine articles I've written, harrowing stories from bear-dodging backpacking trips, and reviews of aquariums I've visited, can be found here.

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