About the Author

Debra began her wanderlust horse journeys at the age of 13 when her parents moved to a farm next to Paynes Prairie just south of Gainesville, Florida.  Her equine highway, U.S. Highway 441, connected her to her friends ‘north of the prairie’ and places beyond.  Horses remained an integral part of her life for more than 30 years.  In 2008, she sold her final horse, Shotsie, but his memory remains as a featured character in this story.

Growing up on a farm and given free rein to explore nature, Debra developed an interest in the outdoors during her formative teenage years.  Her nearly three-decade career as an environmental scientist surely originated from those early days of unrestrained exploration on and around Paynes Prairie.

Photograph above printed in the Gainesville Sun on September 2, 1973 of the author (left) and her friend (right) riding across Paynes Prairie.