Cristina Santiestevan is a Virginia-based freelance writer / photographer with more than a decade’s experience writing about how, why and where modern life interacts with the natural world.
Suburban ecology. Climate change. Whale poop. These are just some of the themes Cristina explores through her assignments for magazines, nonprofit member publications and museum exhibitions, as well as websites, blogs and online publications.
Cristina writes about science, nature, wildlife, the environment and gardening from a personal perspective. She holds an MA in Biology, tracked endangered primates through Africa’s rainforests, and grows her own food in her front yard. As a graduate student, she trained fish to swim through mazes. And, despite a lifelong and totally unreasonable fear of ants, Cristina spent an entire summer researching large, angry ants in sub-alpine meadows near Boulder, Colorado. When Cristina commits to a project, she finishes it. Even if there are ants involved.
As a writer, Cristina understands the vital importance of getting something right. But, she also knows that correct information counts for nothing if it isn’t accessible to the reader. This is reflected in her writing. Read a few of her clips, and you’ll notice that she generally writes in a casual and friendly tone. But, you’ll also notice that Cristina is not casual about the facts — the tone is friendly, and the facts are accurate.
Cristina’s recent assignments include:
- We’re Not in Zone Six Anymore, which explores how climate change will impact gardeners and their crops for Organic Gardening Magazine.
- Ferret Feat, a cover story for Smithsonian Zoogoer, about the remarkable recovery of the black-footed ferret.
- Researching, writing and editing content for an online climate change toolkit for a national land conservation organization.
- Outlaw Garden, a blog about renegade gardening in HOA-controlled suburban America.
Cristina is based in smalltown Virginia, approximately an hour west of Washington, D.C, and an hour east of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. She travels throughout Virginia and surrounding areas for interviews and site visits, will rise before dawn to follow wildlife biologists into the field, and has chased trained bird dogs through blackberry brambles in pursuit of her stories (more difficult than it sounds). Because Cristina carries her Nikon DSLR along for interviews and field trips, she is frequently able to provide photographs or video — as well as words — for her assignments.
Beyond magazines and publications, Cristina works with nonprofits and small businesses to develop and share their stories through social media and old school media. Cristina writes and ghost writes annual reports, blog posts, websites, email newsletters and more. She helps nonprofits motivate their audiences through online toolkits and resources, website content and powerful stories. And, she entertains and educates visitors at museums, zoos and aquariums through exhibit panels and interactive experiences.
Cristina is familiar with a variety of desktop publishing and content management programs, including Powerpoint, Photoshop, InDesign, WordPress, and Constant Contact. She is also fluent in HTML and social media, which means she can assist clients with social media campaigns as well as more traditional print and online projects.
Away from the computer, Cristina walks her dog, weeds her garden, and giggles with her nephews. She manages a community seed swap, and participates in local community and business events. She hikes, and camps, and takes photographs of just about everything. She dreams of sneaking chickens into her suburban backyard, inspiring her neighbors to grow vegetables, and launching a community garden in her hometown.