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Avatar courtesy of @Blackmudpuppy

Hi, and welcome to Our Urban Jungle!

My name is Megan Draheim and I live in Washington, DC. I’m a faculty member at Virginia Tech’s Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability, where I teach biodiversity-related courses in our Masters program. My work focuses mainly on human-wildlife interactions and urban biodiversity, although I also get to take dives into the marine world from time to time. I run The District Coyote Project, which looks at coyotes and coyote-human interactions in my adopted home town, and I’m also a writer and photographer (see my website for samples).

I actually study at least two species in every project: humans and (non-human) wildlife. You just can’t separate wildlife from humans, perhaps especially in urban areas (although that’s still true pretty much everywhere in the world, even in what we might think of as “pristine” places — but that’s a different story). Since the majority of people worldwide now live in cities, those of us concerned with biodiversity and sustainability issues can’t ignore what’s happening in our local towns. In fact, people can actually live more sustainably in the middle of a city than in many other places, something that I think we often overlook. Cities can also act as reservoirs of biodiversity, and host a surprising variety of species. Remember, rural areas are often severely degraded and disturbed as well (think of conventional agricultural monocultures, or recently subdivided areas that have been clearcut of their trees). Cities can also be places of evolutionary action — we’re finding out more and more that animals are adapting to urban areas in interesting ways.

So welcome to the site. I hope you learn something new about nature in our cities, and that you find it as interesting as I do!

Twitter: @megandraheim

Instagram: megan_draheim


(c) Megan Draheim, 2016

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2012 2:47 pm

    Congratulations! I’ve just nominated your blog for a Liebster Award!

    What is a Liebster, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. In the words of the blogger who nominated Next-Door Nature, the Liebster “celebrates up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The aim is to spread the word about exceptional blogs that deserve more readership, by having each recipient of the Liebster Award highlight five blogs that he or she feels stands out in a crowd.”

    If you go to my blog post ( you can do a screen capture of the Liebster logo to post on your site, and you’ll also find out what you need to do to uphold the Liebster mission.

    I enjoy reading your posts and I’m sure others will as well.

    Happy 2012!

    Kieran J. Lindsey, PhD
    President & Grand Poobah
    Next-Door Nature

    • January 13, 2012 1:33 pm

      Kieran, thank you so much! What a fantastic idea, and I’m honored that you chose my blog 🙂 I’ll be posting my own Liebster post soon!

  2. Tricia permalink
    January 31, 2014 4:01 pm

    Dear DC Gator Gal:
    I’m one of your regular readers. In May Finishing Line Press is publishing my chapbook of poetry Urban Wild — poems about the wild creatures and sometimes people that share our urban spaces. Would you be interested in a copy for review when it comes out?

    Tricia Knoll
    Portland, Oregon
    triciaknoll at

    • January 31, 2014 4:07 pm

      Hi, Tricia! Your chapbook sounds great, and I’d love to review it for Our Urban Jungle. Let me know how we can make that happen!

  3. Tricia permalink
    January 31, 2014 4:11 pm

    I would be delighted to send you a copy. The print date is scheduled for May 2nd. I’ll get copies just after that. The press in Kentucky was affected by recent flooding so there may be a delay. I know books that were due out sooner are a little backed up. If you email me a mailing address, I’ll see that you get one.

    And I read all the snowy owl information with a sense of great urgency. What an amazing thing for one to stop and watch the people with their cell phones.


    • January 31, 2014 4:16 pm

      Great! I’ll email you my address now. The latest I hear about the owl is that they’re waiting on x-rays (for internal injuries) and bloodwork (for rodenticide ingestion through prey). Here’s hoping…

  4. oururbanwilderness permalink
    July 21, 2014 2:59 pm

    I met you a while back, so to speak, through the blogosphere when i was chasing baboons round our suburb here in the Cape. Now i co-share a new blog, where we tell the human/ wildlife stories on our urban edge. I find the urban eco-niche and wildlife adaptations fascinating.

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