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Powledge, conducting research for his circus book.

Fred Powledge is the author of seventeen books and scores of magazine articles and reports. His interests range from biological diversity to climate change, and from race relations to circus life.


Powledge's articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New Yorker, Audubon, BioScience, and many others. They draw on his extensive experience as a journalist, which includes reporting as a staff member of The New York Times, the Atlanta Journal, and the Associated Press. He began his journalism career at the age of 10, as the reporting staff, editor, publisher, deliverer, and sole employee of a homemade newspaper in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. The venture proved to be financially wanting, and Powledge declared bankruptcy.


He has served as a consultant to agricultural research institutions in Colombia, Peru, Sri Lanka, and Italy.

He has contributed to biennial editions of World Resources, which is an authority on global environmental and development issues, and to several encyclopedias. He designed, researched, and wrote the Web site of the Bay and Paul Foundations chronicling the foundations’ $180,000 Biodiversity Leadership Awards to workers in the fields of biological diversity.  Powledge has edited reports on a variety of subjects, including electronic journalism, prostate cancer, environmental science, and the economic, social, and biological future of the potato.


Most recently, Fred Powledge has been the author of articles in the journal BioScience on a variety of important environmental subjects—intellectual ownership of everyday genetic material such as rice and beans; preservation of agricultural seeds; the environment after George Bush; island biogeography; the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; the Chesapeake Bay; botanical gardens, and climate change.


His books, all of them nonfiction, are about race relations (Powledge covered the civil rights movement in the South and North for The New York Times and Atlanta Journal), the life of a small tented circus over the course of a season; the importance of water; the food business, and other subjects. Six of his books are for young readers; his most recent is about the origins of medicines in the tropical rainforest.


Powledge lives with his science-writer wife in Tucson, Arizona.