VANDA JANEÂ POLLARD
â€œI was 14 when I made my first solo trip to France to take a summer job as an au-pair with a large Parisian family â€“ the Laportes â€“ We motored to their summer home in Normandy, and this is where IÂ became enchanted with other lands and cultures. The markets overflowed – live chickens, baskets of fruits and vegetables so beautiful and delectable, cheeses, fresh milk, cream, fish from the coast on Fridays, loose bouquets of herbs and flowers, baguettes, wine â€“ the people, the food, all so different from the grey skies and mundane fare of England.â€
Vanda was born in Mexico, grew up in England and was delighted to have Europe just across the channel. Arriving in the US in the mid 1970â€™s she worked a couple of ski seasons in the Rockies before heading to the Sonoran Desert and the University of Arizona. It was here she discovered the incredible scuba diving in the Sea of Cortez and ended up with a degree in biology.
After her daughter Becca was born she became a full-time mother, pursued other interests and returned to graduate school when Becca was in high school. It was in graduate school that Vanda was given the opportunity to start traveling overseas again in both a research and consultant capacity on issues relating to sustainable agriculture, development and natural resource management. She has worked in Indonesia, China, Mexico, the US states of Arizona, Hawaii and California and has traveled to, and through many regions of the world. Â Intersecting the boundaries between science and culture, and always with a camera and a notebook in hand, Vanda is passionate about searching out the more unusual stories of people and places around the world.