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.


Tangled Roots: Ginseng Poaching in Appalachia

It used to be that the harvesting of wild ginseng was an honorable occupation. Or at least that was the verdict among the people who lived for centuries off the land in the rough-cut Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Right here, just outside our windows, our commonly-held natural resources are being carefully plundered by people with no more regard for natural cohesion or historical perspective than for anything else aside from immediate profit.
Blue Ridge Outdoors Link to Story

Holistic Agriculture Returns to Remotest Appalachia

The Allegheny Mountain Institute is finding innovative ways to replant a local agricultural economy in rural Appalachia. In the 1970s Laurie Berman and her husband bought a farm in Virginia as “homesteaders,” eager to reconnect to the land. When she first traveled through West Virginia en route to the farm, she was amazed and then disturbed by the almost total lack of nutritious, locally sourced food along the way.
FuturePerfect Link to Story


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.