Great Gray Owl, Blue Mountains, OR
Leigh Calvez has worked with whales and dolphins as a scientist, naturalist and nature writer. As a scientist, she worked as Research Director for the Ocean Mammal Institute on such projects as the effect of vessel traffic on endangered humpback whales off Maui, Hawaii and the effects of human interaction on the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin in their resting bays on the Big Island of Hawaii. She also led the only independent research team observing the US Navy’s testing of Low Frequency Active Sonar (LFA) on humpback whales in their nurseries in Hawaii in 1998.
As a naturalist, Leigh has worked on whale watch boats in Massachusetts watching humpback and finback whales on the feeding grounds of Stellwagen Bank, in Hawaii on the breeding grounds of the humpback whale and in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, watching pods of orca whales. She has also led extended whale watching journeys to New Zealand, British Columbia and the Azores Islands off Portugal.
Her interest in the natural world led her to nature writing. Leigh wrote about her adventures in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, and the story was published in American Nature Writing: 2003 by Fulcrum Books. Her writing about her work with dolphins was published in an anthology for Sierra Club Books entitled Between Species: Celebrating the Dolphin-Human Bond. Her work has also been published in Smithsonian Magazine, High Country News, The Ecologist, Ocean Realm, The Christian Science Monitor, the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Bainbridge Island Magazine.
Her New York Times bestselling book, The Hidden Lives of Owls: The Science and Spirit of Nature’s Most Elusive Birds, was published by Sasquatch Books in August 2016. Sasquatch Books also published Leigh's second book, The Breath of a Whale: The Science and Spirit of Pacific Ocean Giants, a 2019 Silver Nautilus Book Award winner.
She teaches private writing classes and lives near Seattle, Washington, with her daughter Ellie and their two cats.