What is the Street-Smart Naturalist

Street Smart Naturalist is my way to share observations about the human and natural world around Seattle, Puget Sound, and the Pacific Northwest.

When I graduated from college, my mom said to me, “I read through all of your report cards and all of your teachers said that you never shut up.” So this is my way to start some new conversation, and to share ideas, stories, and observations based on my research and ramblings. The writing will be serious, silly, and somewhere in between.

In case you are worried about getting too many newsletters, I send only one per week, on Thursday.

Do I have to pay?

Absolutely not. I’ll write to you for free. But if you’re keen and able to become a paying subscriber, please do. It would be greatly appreciated and helpful. Plus, it will allow you to receive, every now and then, special emails unavailable to non-paying-but-just-as-cherished subscribers.

Who reads Street Smart

  • People who want to know more about Seattle and Puget Sound and the many fascinating stories that can be found by wandering the streets, deep diving newspaper archives, perusing old photos, and taking the time to slow down, be more observant, and ask questions;

  • Urban naturalists who delight in noticing fossils in buildings, walruses in terra cotta, and ants bubbling out of sidewalk cracks;

  • Flaneurs, historians, optimists, and the just plain nerdy;

  • And, those who simply look around and find beauty and amazement in the world around them.

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Who is the Street Smart Naturalist

I am - David B. Williams.

I am an author, naturalist, and tour guide based in Seattle. My books include Too High and Too Steep: Reshaping Seattle’s Topography, Seattle Walks: Discovering History and Nature in the CityStories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology, and the Seattle Street-Smart Naturalist: Field Notes from the City. I am also a Curatorial Associate at the Burke Museum. My next book, Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound, will be published in Spring 2021. 

I live and work on the land of the Coast Salish peoples and am trying to honor with gratitude the land and those who have inhabited it since time immemorial. I know that I have much more to learn and hope to continue that journey.

Subscribe to Street Smart Naturalist: Explorations of the Urban Kind

A free newsletter oriented toward building stronger connections to place through stories of human and natural history in the Pacific Northwest


I am a writer, historian, and tour guide focused on the intersection between people and landscape, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.