Environmental Scientist. Writer. Mother.

Mary Heather Noble


Environmental Scientist, Writer

Mary Heather Noble is an environmental scientist, writer, and mother whose work is inspired by social and environmental issues and the intersection of the natural world, family, and place.  She is a 2015 Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship recipient, and her essay collection, Plumes: On Contamination of Home and Habitat, was selected by New York Times bestselling author Karen Joy Fowler as the winner of the 2014 Siskiyou Prize for New Environmental Literature (sponsored by Ashland Creek Press).

Noble’s work has also been honored with first prize in Creative Nonfiction’s The Human Face of Sustainability contest, as a finalist in Bellingham Review‘s 2016 Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction, second prize in the 2012 Literal Latté Essay Awards, and honorable mention in the 38th New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Awards.  Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in About Place Journal, Fourth Genre, High Desert Journal, Hippocampus, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Minerva Rising, Orion, Pithead Chapel, QuartzTHE FEMThe Sun, and Utne Reader.

Noble is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern Maine.  She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geology from The Ohio State University, and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  She lives with her husband and two daughters in Vermont after living in Oregon for nine years.



Formally educated as an environmental geologist, I spent six years working as an environmental regulator before leaving the technical sector to pursue a lifelong interest in creative writing.  I specialize in memoir and personal essay, drawing upon my personal and professional experiences as an environmental scientist and mother.  My most recent work explores the environmental and genetic triggers for cancer, autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, and other neurobiological conditions, as well as the social and environmental health impacts of industrial contamination.  My other passions include literary arts education and outreach, deserts and mountains, writing for advocacy, writing about family, and the lyric essay.