thought I would start this blog-record with just a little more background on
myself--some lesser known facts from my bio that might help explain or put some
context around what I will write about in future entries.
my origin in Southern California is fairly well documented, I should add that I
grew up on a “huge” half-acre in rural Orange County...although “rural Orange
County” is today something of an oxymoron.
That spacious back yard allowed me room to roam and I
explored every nook and cranny in my formative years.
My earliest memories of plants, butterflies, and birds come
from the confines of that wild place, long before I began stretching my wings
and exploring nearby Upper Newport Bay, the remainder of Orange County, and the
rest of the western U.S.
well, I am very “Disney-fied.”
only did my father work at nearby Disneyland, thus making it my second
playground, but I was also heavily influenced by many of the early Disney
Most relevant to the
present topic is Disney’s classic short film “Nature’s Half Acre” (1951).
For a brief intro to this Oscar winning
"Uncle Walt"(Photo credit: NASA)
The parallel to my childhood setting should be apparent.
The Internet Movie Database page
explains: “The variety of wildlife in a meadow - particularly insects and
flowers - is observed over the course of a year, through the use of
microphotography and time-lapse photography.”
It was a seminal nature film that influenced no small number
of budding naturalists, myself included.
Yep, that's me in 1965, on a cold winter morning
at Newport Beach's 19th Street beach break.
am also a surfer, though I haven’t surfed regularly in decades.
Surfing--to spout clichés--is more than
a sport; it is a way of life and it instills in its adherents a distinct
perspective on the world.
from all the trappings and idiosyncrasies that have been parodied ad nauseum by Hollywood, surfing gives a person a feel for the
movement of energy in time and space through the natural world. Quite literally, becoming a better
surfer depends in large part on recognizing and responding to the flow of
energy in the ocean. The
periodicity of the waves, their seasonality, their origins, their dissipation
on the shore--all this can be extrapolated to much grander topics in the
functioning of ecosystems--to which I will return in future posts.
finally, most obviously, having grown up in Orange County in the 1950s-1970s, I witnessed some of the most rapid and complete transformations of natural
ecosystems that the continent has suffered.
My boy scout camping spots were paved over to make way for
the financial capital (in both senses of the word) of the West Coast.
Places where I made my first wildflower
collections can no longer be found.
No small number of SoCal plants, butterflies, and birds that I came to
know as a child share space on that narrow ledge at the brink of exinction with
our own Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo.
So, I confess to being a nature-loving, energy-flow conscious, urban-escapee surfer who made it to Austin "as soon as I could" (1974). I hope you enjoy my forth-coming offerings, framed by my well of experiences over the most recent decades and shaped into these "Notes From The Canyonlands".
p.s. Despite my official position at the Refuge, I am contributing these blogs as a "private citizen" and Friend of the Refuge.
To that end, I'll only burden you once with this disclaimer:
"The content of this blog does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. government
and no official endorsement should be inferred."