Meet the Weelunk Nature Writer

Some people just have Wheeling inside them. If you were born here, it’s in your blood. If your parents and grandparents were born here, it’s in your bones. Laura Jackson Roberts is a sixth-generation resident, so Wheeling can actually be detected in her DNA. It’s true: neural testing indicated a heightened cellular response to DiCarlos pizza. Also, ultrasound imaging revealed that her left kidney bears a striking resemblance to Betty Zane.

Growing up on the old family property on National Road in the 80’s and 90’s, Laura bore witness to what felt like Wheeling’s final decline. Like many of her 1997 Linsly classmates, she left the state to pursue a more certain future in Florida. At Eckerd College, she earned a degree in Environmental Studies and planned to remain in the south and work in the conservation field.

Life has a funny way of steering us, though, and almost by accident Laura ended up back in Wheeling in 2002, wondering how and why it had happened. She worked for several years in the Development Office at West Liberty University where she met her husband, and in the following years had two little boys who would further anchor her to the valley.

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Recently Laura went back to school to obtain a master’s degree in Creative Writing at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. She concentrated on nature writing and humor, and she found that the two go together quite well. Currently, Laura serves as blog editor for Literary Mama magazine, the northern panhandle representative of West Viginia Writers, and a member of the Ohio Valley Writers. She’s finishing a book of humorous animal stories and does freelance writing work for local organizations such as Oglebay Institute. In addition to publishing in literary journals, she’s published in Weelunk about her Victorian home and ramps, as well as an essay in Vandaleer. Laura has a habit of bringing home stray animals, hates earwigs, and has unusually small feet.

Laura looks forward to writing about our West Virginia backyard critters and reviewing local hikes and outdoor nature activities in her upcoming series, “Valley Views & Varmints.” She hopes to share a little ecology and a lot of humor with readers as Weelunk, and Wheeling, continue to grow.