Richard W. Bender(1953- )was born in St. Louis, MO and grew up in an Ozark rural lifestyle yet with a very large high school less than one hour from downtown St. Louis. The combination of a rural life connected to nature and the cultural advantages of the large high school and city provided a unique perspective that is reflected in his writings for several newspapers and magazines including Horticulture, Field & Stream and The Herbal Companion. After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Management and two years in neuroscience grad school he move to Colorado in 1985 where he has operated Bonsai By Bender for 20 years, supplying unique bonsai to clients like the Missouri Botanic Gardens, Franklin Park Conservatory(Columbus, OH,) Portland(OR) Classical Chinese Garden and the COMO Park Conservatory in St. Paul, MN. His first book, Herbal Bonsai was in print for 15 years and he is currently working on several new projects with his agent.