Born on the Oslo Fjord in Norway, I moved with my family to Minneapolis when I was a year old. ‘Gro’ is a common Norwegian name, but is rarely encountered on this side of the Atlantic. When not playing dolls and dress-up in my best friend’s basement, I tromped the swamps and woods near my home or water-skied on Lake Minnetonka.
I graduated with a BS in Forest Ecology and Biology from the University of Minnesota. After several short-term jobs, including processing Niblets for Green Giant, counting petunias, and literally hugging trees with a dbh tape, I migrated to the East Coast to earn a Master's degree from Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
After graduation, I worked on acid rain issues in Boston for the Dukakis administration. In 1983, I moved to Maine and married Kent Wommack. Together we raised a daughter and two sons. I worked for the Maine Legislature for eight years and was surrounded by stories of moose meat gone bad, blueberry water wars, unscrupulous mussel draggers, and toxic midnight dumping. In 1992, I founded Ash Cove Consulting, specializing in environmental policy issues.
When my family moved to Australia in 2004, I wrapped up my consulting business and enjoyed capturing stories about Croc Granny, pythons on the garbage cans, and the short shorts worn by aging Australian men. Upon returning to the US, I honed my writing skills with an MFA from the University of Maine’s Stonecoast program. I am currently at work on a nonfiction memoir, based on the coast of Maine.
I’ve been active in the nonprofit world, having worked as a trustee with the Royal River Conservation Trust, the Merrill Memorial Library, and Maine Audubon. Most recently I led the campaign to raise $2.5 million for the renovation of Yarmouth's Merrill Memorial Library.
In 2016, my husband and I moved to NYC when he took a job with the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenburg Foundation. We kept our house in Maine and spend about a third of my time there, but the change of scene has been fun. I'm looking forward to all the writing opportunities the city has to offer.
Gro Flatebo - Writer