Fort Wayne native Jeff Antonelis-Lapp is the author of a soon-to-be-published book about Mount Rainier National Park, “Tahoma and its People.”
Lapp, a 1972 graduate of Fort Wayne's Central Catholic High School, is now a resident of Enumclaw, Washington, the gateway to Mount Rainier.
He taught writing and Native American studies on Indian reservations for The Evergreen State College before teaching environmental education, natural history and writing on the college's Olympia campus from 2008-15.
“While planning a course on Mount Rainier, I couldn't find an up-to-date natural history to read with my students,” Antonelis-Lapp wrote on his website. “Reluctant to take on such a daunting task, my colleagues eventually convinced me to undertake my first book project. Their steady mentorship and an invitation from park scientists to enter their research worlds catapulted a hazy, unformed idea into a spare outline and finally, a rough draft. Some days I wrote the book; some days the book wrote me.”
“Jeff Antonelis-Lapp explores geologic processes, plant and animal communities, weather and climate influences, and what linked the iconic mountain with the people who traveled to it,” according to a book description by the publisher, Washington State University Press. “He intersperses his own direct observation and study of organisms, as well as personal interactions with other experts. Topics include geology, archaeology, indigenous villages and use of resources, climate and glacier studies, alpine and forest ecology, rivers, watershed dynamics, keystone species, threatened wildlife, geological hazards, and current resource management.”
Tony Henry, a classmate of Antonelis-Lapp, will host a book-signing later this year at Deer Park Irish Pub.