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A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she is the author of Forgotten Edens (National Geographic Books), and is a contributing author of more than a dozen books published by National Geographic, where she worked as a staff writer for 15 years. Assignments have taken her to wild places on all seven continents to cover subjects ranging from wildlife in Zambia to a profile of Brazil’s Pantanal.
For the past two decades she has worked with her husband and partner, Frans Lanting, on field assignments from the Amazon to Mongolia. Her stories have appeared in National Geographic, Audubon, International Wildlife, National Geographic Traveler, and in other international publications. Her National Geographic Traveler story, “The Last Real Africa,” earned her a Lowell Thomas Award for Best Magazine Article on Foreign Travel.
Eckstrom collaborated with Lanting to produce Life: A Journey Through Time (Taschen), a lyrical interpretation of the history of life on Earth from the Big Bang to the present. They worked together to realize The LIFE Project as a traveling exhibition, an interactive website (www.LifeThroughTime.com), and a multimedia orchestral performance featuring the imagery of Lanting and the music of composer Philip Glass. LIFE as a multimedia production premiered at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Santa Cruz, California, in 2006, and is currently touring North America and Europe. Eckstrom and Lanting also worked together to produce ORIGINS, a new multimedia production based on LIFE. Specially commissioned by CERN, the European Council on Nuclear Research, ORIGINS was performed at the ceremony to inaugurate the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2008.
Eckstrom has teamed up with Lanting to produce a number of acclaimed natural history and photography books, including Jungles (Taschen), Penguin (Taschen), Eye to Eye (Taschen) and Okavango: Africa's Last Eden (Chronicle Books). After traveling by icebreaker to visit emperor penguin colonies along the coast of east Antarctica, she wrote “Time on Ice,” a story that appeared in a collection of essays entitled Celebration of the Seas.
As a videographer, Eckstrom documents the fieldwork she produces with Lanting. She has filmed pieces for the National Geographic Channel and NGM.com on cloud goats in India, elephants of the Western Ghats, Hawaii's volcanoes, wildlife in Zambia, albatrosses in the Southern Ocean, and chimpanzees in West Africa. Her coverage of chimpanzees in West Africa was also featured in the NOVA-National Geographic television special "Ape Genius," which received a Peabody Award.
Chris Eckstrom lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her husband and partner, Frans Lanting, in a coastal meadow they share with bobcats, coyotes, and elusive mountain lions.