Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge

Consider this essay in measures of Nature-derived inspiration. View this GBH Blog Post as one of exquisite timing. This year marks the centennial of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which protects more than 1,025 species. The January 2018 National Geographic features Why Birds Matter. Lead article author Jonathan Franzen begins, “It’s not just what […]

How Did We Stand the Continuous Darkness?

We spent four years (2004-2008) in Fairbanks, Alaska, at nearly 65 degrees north latitude. This time of year, people often ask, “How did you stand the continuous darkness?” I patiently try to explain that because Fairbanks is south of the Arctic Circle, even on the winter solstice, the sun still rises, albeit just 1.5 degrees […]

But Baby It’s Cold Outside!

Here at 34.7 degrees north latitude (contrast that to Fairbanks, AK at 64.8), we expect some relative warmth this time of year. Average daily high for early January is 48. We enjoyed one day since the last few days of December that made it all the way to 35! Average daily low is 30; most […]

Returning from a Six-Month Absence

Happy New Year! I left Big Blue Lake end of June, 2017 for my six-month Interim Presidency at Fairmont State University. We returned mid-day December 23. I squeezed a lot out of that half-year. Yet I must admit, I cannot ignore the trade-offs… the costs of a six-month full immersion out of state. Judy (my […]

Preservation and Change

Return Visit to Cathedral State Park My first two undergraduate forestry summers I performed continuous forest inventory on Savage River State Forest (then 52,000 acres) in Western Maryland’s Garrett County. I stayed weeknights in a cabin at New Germany State Park. The entire experience served in retrospect as a gift from God — Divine Professional […]

Fairmont State University – An Aerial Perspective

I’m a spatial (not at all special) guy. Over my field forester days and subsequent positions, I’ve enjoyed many hours airborne, face pressed to the windows. Whether on commercial airline ascent or descent (not much to see from 30,000-foot cruising altitudes), or evaluating land exchanges via chopper, I interpret the landscape much more clearly than […]

The Cycle Completes a Turn

I’m just a week out from my departure from north-central West Virginia and Fairmont State University, returning to north Alabama. I’ve experienced a seasonal cycle from early summer to now near the winter solstice:                 I’ve also progressed from anticipating the start of the fall semester to soon […]

Nature’s Inspiration at Scale

I often think back to my first close-up view of Mount Denali. I had hiked up Mount Quigley one late August morning, providing a clear, cloud-free view of Denali’s north face from just 20 miles. Because the big one rises from 2,000 feet above sea level on its north side, it ascended within my field […]

A Near-Final Week at Fairmont State University

I write these words December 3, mostly intended for my December 10, column for the Times West Virginian. For this Great Blue Heron Blog Post, I’ve added a twist and turn here and there to bring it back to my Nature-Inspired Leading and Learning theme. The Feature Photo has me standing just this week at […]

Sowing Seeds for Tomorrow

I left Allegany Community College (ACC) May 1971 with an associate’s degree in forestry, transferring to the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry to earn my bachelor’s. Dr. Glenn O. Workman (Doc) mentored and inspired me through ACC. Judy and I established an endowed scholarship in Doc’s name three years […]

Celebrating Nature’s Symbols

Yeah, I know, it’s perhaps a real stretch to see our Fairmont State University Flying F logo in this morning’s dawn. Yet I really liked the image painted in the eastern sky above the Falcon Center. Judy and I had just finished our morning walk. Dawn had just begun brightening the east when we started. […]

A View of Fairmont State University’s Ecosystem

FSU’s Science and Technology Dean Don Trisel sent his drone with camera aloft 7:30 AM November 20. Looking north, the view captures campus and the hills beyond. Almost Heaven, don’t you think! A typical landscape of North-Central, Wild Wonderful West Virginia. Our “College on the Hill” campus rises some 300 feet from Locust Avenue in […]