.......and Reflections

Monday, May 9, 2011

A blog for those that share a passion for wild things and wild places

More than 15 years ago I wrote nature articles for a Cleveland, Ohio suburban newspaper, Westlife. I wrote about a variety of natural history subjects that were well read and this column actually developed a bit of a following. Blogging may be a way for me to publish stories and observations that will resonate with people that share my interest and passion for wild things and wild places.

I am a prolific birder. More precisely, birding has provided me with a natural history education, unavailable in even the best of Universities. My undergraduate degree is in natural resources from The Ohio State University and my major was wildlife management. My advanced degree is from the School of the Great Outdoors. I could never have imagined that a course of study would lead me to a life-long journey that would shape my values, provide me with an unforeseen career and the opportunity to merge field experience with a nature and science career.

This merging of education, career, and field experience has shaped who I am, and provided for a unique perspective on nature and life. It has been a path that allowed me the privilege to meet, work with, and learn from the very best in natural history education, natural sciences, birding, and natural resource management and policy.

But it is the nature experience that is nearest and dearest to my heart and the opportunity to share my experiences with, truly, some of the most wonderful people on the planet. As luck would have it, I have been able to travel extensively across America and around the world. It has enriched my life as well as enriching the lives of program participants, friends and family.

I like to talk about and write about my experiences. But this blog is really about inspiring a variety of readers with the initiative and motivation to collect their own experiences and grow in the way that I have grown in appreciation, reverence and respect for nature from the lessons that nature provides in nearly every encounter.

Perhaps you won't remember much of what I write, but what I write might encourage you to put yourself in a position to make your own discoveries. The second most important method of learning is a discovery. The most powerful learning experience is a serendipitous experience, a wonderful unexpected discovery. I hope you read what I write and it gets you out in nature so you can have your own experiences that are both educational and life changing.

It is likely that most everyone that follows this blog will be predisposed to get out there. "Out there" is the only place to be. If you have a choice of reading my blog or going "out there".....go out there. I have been leading bird walks, leading tours and teaching birders for over 30 years. Many have become accomplished birders, environmentalists and advocates for wild things and wild places. More importantly their lives have been enriched by being "out there". I didn't create their success. They created success in their own nature experiences.

The beauty of the natural experience is that it it is an equal enriching opportunity, available to all, regardless of sex, age, race, religion or national origin. My revelations, experiences, discoveries, and adventures are available to each of you that read this blog. The possibilities are as big as planet earth but many of them are readily available across America, in your State, your community and even your own back yard. The discoveries are out there ready for your discovery.

I will be writing about America's uncommon access to natural places. Many of our natural treasures are well known and well documented. The beauty of birding is that it reveals that some of our greatest treasure troves are in "the middle of nowhere". There will be much to say about the well known places, but I prefer the discoveries of the lesser known places beyond the freeway, beyond the divided highway, along the two-lane and beyond the pavement. There are all purpose trails that are well marked and well traveled and there are many trails that require a compass.

I am a deciple of the famous Baseball Hall of Fame New York Yankees catcher, Yogi Berra who is quite quotable and cold have been a natural history educator. He said "you can see a lot by looking" (or more correctly: "you can observe a lot by watching") and "when you come to the fork in the road, take it". These are sound philosophies that I employ and prescribe. I hope you will enjoy future blogs and you are inspired to create your own opportunities as suggested by the wise Mr. Berra, watching birds, observing nature and spending quality time "out there".

I'll blog as often as I can and when I can, but blogging isn't always possible when I'm "in the middle of nowhere". "Somewhere" is just a place to blog and prepare for another adventure "in the middle of nowere".

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