We mourn the passing of an inspiring friend, loving wife and mother, and naturalist extraordinaire, Carmen Field. Based in Homer, Alaska, where she and her husband Conrad built their home and raised their daughter Eryn, Carmen ventured around the globe, working in the expedition travel industry for over three decades. Those of you who traveled with Carmen know that she was in her element when in the elements, like walking along blustery Arctic or Antarctic beaches. She paid attention to what was going on around her, from discerning the seasonal appearances of various shorebirds to discovering a little blob of a marine invertebrate that seemed to defy classification. She, along with Conrad, seemed to have an insatiable curiosity to know more about all things natural, a trait nurtured in Eryn. Then when guiding, Carmen had this special ability to bring all eyes to focus on the most seemingly ordinary thing, like a blade of kelp or sprig of yarrow. She would begin to share its virtues. Suddenly the mundane became magical, yet another example of the countless wonders that surround us. Her gifts as a storyteller made her equally compelling when sharing epic stories of survival, such as the trials of Sir Ernest Shackleton. And in her bright orange float coat, waterproof pants, and Xtra Tuf boots, she could drive a Zodiac in the roughest conditions with a Zen-like calm.
When not traveling, Carmen worked as a marine educator with the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve. She was passionate about getting youth outside, often up to their elbows (and at times fully immersed) in muck; thus, she cultivated our planet’s next generation of stewards—something this fragile earth so desperately needs. Through her stories and the experiences she fostered, she helped make people of all ages more aware of the threads that connect us to each other, to the world and, yes, to the universe. Her smile and warmth and humor will be greatly missed. Yet it is a comfort to know that her vibrant spirit lives on in our hearts and just outside the door.