William H. Funk

Journalist | Documentarian | Environmental Atty

Staunton, Virginia

William H. Funk

I'm a freelance writer with broad experience in natural and human history, land preservation, traditional cultures, and environmental law, policy and politics. I've also produced and directed a couple of short documentary films.

This site houses my more recently published writing. For more expansive content please visit my website, linked below, and thanks for visiting.


The Wily Coyote

One of the most adaptable animals in North America, the coyote plays a necessary role in Virginia and is here to stay.
Virginia Wildlife Link to Story

Trump budget undercuts U.S. commitment to global wildlife conservation

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would make extensive cuts to already underfunded programs to combat wildlife trafficking and to aid African and Asian nations in protecting elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins and other endangered wildlife. Trump’s budget proposes a 32 percent across-the-board cut in U.S. foreign assistance, affecting hundreds of sustainability, health and environmental programs.
Mongabay Link to Story

Wildlife Whistleblowers

Last year, four contestants split the US$900,000 grand prize for the inaugural Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, an international contest sponsored by USAID, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution and TRAFFIC. One prizewinner stood out for many observers, not so much for its technological inventiveness as for its broad application of the American legal system.

My 2017 stories for the Chesapeake Bay Journal

This page gathers my stories for the Bay Journal, for which I'm a part-time writer about environmental issues affecting the mountains and valleys of Virginia and their impact on the Chesapeake Bay.
Bay Journal Link to Story

Ivory-Sniffing Dogs Are Running Down Poachers Across Africa

Over the past few years the African poaching crisis has devolved into an overt war on the continent's iconic wildlife. Everything from rhinos to lions to giraffes are routinely slaughtered or enslaved for sale to criminal wildlife traffickers, a continental ecological meltdown worth an estimated $23 billion annually.
Motherboard Link to Story

Russian Honeybees to the Rescue

America’s honeybees are in serious trouble. Modern large-scale pollination procedures are hard on the honeybee. Our honeybees (Apis mellifera. ) aren’t native to the Western Hemisphere either, originally being derived from southern Europe and brought over by the early colonists, and there is even some concern from conservationists about their varying impacts on our some 4,000 native bee species.


William H. Funk

I was born in Kansas, grew up in Kentucky, went to graduate school in New England, and now live in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley where I work as a freelance writer of articles and essays dealing with the natural world, history, culture, law and politics. As an attorney I've worked extensively with state and federal governments as well as with various nonprofit groups on environmental issues dealing with land preservation, endangered species, clean air and water, and wetlands mitigation.

I am currently writing articles and essays for publication in a wide variety of magazines, including Discover, Ensia, Humanities, Vice, Mongabay, Cosmos, Earth Island Journal, Aeon, Mashable, Yale Environment360, Virginia Wildlife, Grit, Birdwatcher’s Digest, The Southern Quarterly, History Today, The Utne Reader, African Wildlife News, Wildlife in North Carolina, Blue Ridge Digest, Africa Geographic, and others. After four year's autodidactic apprenticeship I am learning the ropes of being a professional magazine freelancer.

Documentary filmmaking is another passion of mine. I enjoyed a month with Maine Media Workshops in the summer of 2011 where I wrote, produced, shot, edited and scored a short film concerning the reintroduction of declining seabirds to the Gulf of Maine, an opportunity funded in part through a Madson Fellowship awarded by the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Currently I'm directing a crew of a dozen volunteers in making a film to benefit a local dog rescue group.

I hold a JD and a Master's Degree in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School, the country's top environmental law facility, and have developed a reputation for elucidating complex legal, policy and scientific matters in illuminating and compelling prose. My relevant areas of expertise include endangered species and habitat preservation, hunting and fishing, federal lands management, wildlife crime, natural and human history, animal cruelty, wetlands mitigation, conservation easements, environmental law, wilderness issues, traditional cultures, and rural living and the rural economy. I've worked with numerous environmental NGOs and federal agencies and am a skilled and eager naturalist.

I've even picked up a few awards and recognitions this year:

2017 Speaker’s Fellowship for the World Conference of Science Journalism, Council for the Advancement of Science Writing 2017 Journalism Fellow, Society of Wetland Scientists
2017 Freelance Fellowship for Workshop: “Searching for Truth in the Age of Alternative Facts,” Society of
Environmental Journalists
2017 Certificate of Excellence in Craft for Conservation Writing, Virginia Outdoor Writers

I try to spend a maximum amount of my time outdoors - hiking, canoeing, birding, camping, fishing - though in point of fact most of my days are spent in the salt mines of freelancing: pitching, researching and writing. I enjoy literature, film, history, music, photography and dogs. Especially rescued pitbulls.



  • Researching, writing, editing.