Hank Lentfer (l.) credits Richard Nelson with his “audio awakening.” Through attentive listening to the environment, “he introduced me to a world I thought I knew,” Lentfer says. In addition to audio recordings, “Nels” left thousands of pages of journals after his death in 2019. (Liz McKenzie photo)

Biographer Hank Lentfer says the greatest challenge in writing Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson was: What to leave out? Nelson was the state’s preeminent naturalist and one of its most prolific writers. He left behind thousands of pages of notes and journals, and numerous recordings — including audio letters from his year living with the Inupiaq of Wainwright in 1964 — following his death last year. Lentfer discusses his relationship with his friend and mentor, with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey.