Connie (Cornelia F.) Mutel
Senior Science Writer Connie Mutel was educated in biology and music at Oberlin College, and received an M.S. degree in plant ecology at the University of Colorado. She then used that training to write a widely-used book on the natural history of Colorado, initiating a career in scientific writing and interpretation.
She came to the University of Iowa in 1975 and to IIHR in 1990 to assist then-director Jack Kennedy with a biography of noted hydrologist Hans A. Einstein (son of Albert Einstein). In 2014, she and co-author Robert Ettema completed Hans Albert Einstein: His Life as a Pioneering Engineer (ASCE Press). She has completed fifteen books and many articles on a variety of science-based subjects, including a history of IIHR (Flowing Through Time). In 2000, she established IIHR’s Archives. Her most recent writing, A Sugar Creek Chronicle; Observing Climate Change from a Midwetern Woodland, has reflected the increasingly complex interaction between Iowa’s altered natural environment, the state’s hydrology, and the consequences of climate change. She also lectures extensively on these subjects.
Connie and her husband (a UI astronomy professor) live on 18 acres of oak-hickory woodland near Iowa City that they are working to restore to biodiversity and health. Connie remains active in groups and volunteer efforts that work to educate Iowans about the interactions of nature and human activity, and the multiple benefits of restoring Iowa’s native ecosystems.
Areas of Interest:
- Interactions between human activities and Iowa’s environmental integrity and natural history; restoration ecology; and interpretation of these subjects for the lay public
- IIHR’s history
- Hans Albert Einstein’s contributions to hydraulic engineering
- M.S., Environmental Biology, University of Colorado, USA
- B.S., Biology & Music, Oberlin College, USA
- Writes and lectures about Iowa’s natural history and changing environmental integrity
- Hans Albert Einstein: His Life as a Pioneering Engineer (co-author with Robert Ettema, 2014, ASCE Press)
- Climate Change Impacts on Iowa 2010: Report to the Governor and the Iowa General Assembly (editor; 2011)
- A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008 (editor; 2010)
- “Planetary Change: A Personal Reflection” (2010)
- “Iowa’s Waters: A Mirror of the Land” (2009, The Iowa Review)
- The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa (2008)
- “Hunter Rouse’s Historical Writings and the History of Hydraulics Collection” (2008, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, with D. Daly and R. Ettema)
- The Tallgrass Restoration Handbook for Prairies, Savannas, and Woodlands (editor with Stephen Packard; 2005, 2nd edition)
- A Sugar Creek Chronicle; Observing Climate Change from a Midwetern Woodland (2016)
Mutel also advises the University of Iowa Press on natural history books.
Mutel was recently featured in Humanities Iowa’s “Writers on Writing” video series.