Chuck Fergus

Chuck Fergus has enjoyed writing about nature, wildlife, and the outdoors for his entire professional career. After growing up in State College, he graduated from Penn State’s Writing Option in 1973 and went to work for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. He wrote the popular column “Thornapples” in Pennsylvania Game News for 14 years, from 1978 through 1992, and has contributed to the “Crossings” column in that magazine since 2002. He has written for publications ranging from Highlights for Children to Audubon and the New York Times.

Chuck’s seventeen books include two collections of nature essays, The Wingless Crow and Thornapples: The Comings, Goings, and Outdoor Doings of a Naturalist, as well as the best-selling reference books Wildlife of Pennsylvania and the Northeast and Trees of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, both published by Stackpole Books. Among his other books are Natural Pennsylvania (about the State Forest Natural Area system) and Common Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms of the Northeast (a reprinting and updating of a publication written by his father, C. Leonard Fergus, a former Penn State mycology professor). Chuck has written on Bears and Turtles for Stackpole’s “Wild Guides” series, as well as several books on upland bird hunting. He has had one novel published, Shadow Catcher, and is now writing a series of mysteries set in back-country Pennsylvania during the iron-making era of the 1830s.

Chuck works in wildlife communications for the Wildlife Management Institute, including handling three websites: (about the American woodcock and its habitat needs),, and He also helps produce special publications, displays, and other projects for WMI. Since 2003, he has lived on a 120-acre farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, with his wife, the writer Nancy Marie Brown. Nancy, also a Penn State graduate, specializes in historical nonfiction about Iceland and the Middle Ages. Chuck and Nancy’s son, Will, works as a computer scientist in Arlington, Massachusetts. Chuck and Nancy enjoy riding their Icelandic horses on dirt roads and an extensive road and trail network on their land. Chuck particularly likes maintaining those roads and trails, along with getting in firewood, hiking, snowshoeing, and watching wildlife.