RETIREMENT? I was asked again recently, who is A-OK, how is retirement going? A quick answer is…. he’s way ahead of anything in second place. Of course, I had a 32-year professional conservation career as the director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. It was from June 1, 1972 to June 30, 2004. Time flies when the stars align to associate a career with things I loved to do. It was a great race and I feel lucky to have contributed so much to the conservation programs that are still offered today. Many thanks to all of you for making this possible.
My schedule now revolves around a lot of things. Many are nature exploration opportunities, but on a schedule that is my choice, and if the mood is right for me. There is always tomorrow if I can’t undo one or two elements. I impose deadlines on myself if it’s important enough. Otherwise, I take each day as it comes and decide later on what to do to make me feel productive.
One of my self-imposed tasks is to write OUTDOORS TODAY columns in order to share information with you about nature and any aspect of Earth’s natural history. I find it fun to educate readers about natural history with scientific fact-based information. I started writing for the TR in October 1991, repeating a SIGHTING UPSTREAM column previously written by longtime contributor, the late John Garwood. Today’s story is number 1532 and I hope you like it. So how did I get here?
As a kid on a dairy farm in northeast Iowa Bremer County, growing up was an adventure and over the years it took a lot of hard work. My tasks were easy at first and then as I grew older work became an essential part of daily life on the farm. Farm chores were always waiting, so I was steeped in the idea that the job was right for you, instilling a sense of pride in a job well done, no matter how dirty, hot or cold, dusty or dusty the job is. windy. I have learned not to be immune to hard work.
And among the other boys and girls on the farm, there was an unspoken friendly competition to excel at home, at work, at school, and at play. We never thought about it much, we just did. . Even in the Sunday afternoon recreational softball games in a neighbor’s pasture, we enjoyed a good game, especially if the first, second, or third base was a designated cowpie not quite made hard by the summer sun. We played hard and had a great time. And if the final score of the match was say 5-2, and our team only scored two points, nobody disrespected you or your team’s efforts. We did not award any “participation” trophies. Ice cream and pie under a shade tree was our reward.
The activities of the 4-H club kept me busy from 1955 to 1963. My projects revolved mainly around Holstein cattle, working with them before county fairs or state fairs. There was always an immense amount of work associated with the dairy business…. stuff green hay into the front end of a cow, and shovel processed digestive hay from the rear end of the animal. Milk from our herd’s udders was collected twice a day, seven days a week, and sold to a local dairy. A milk check was used to stretch as much as possible to make ends meet.
AVIATION Military service was next on my to-do list, 1963-67, with a few world tours to Southeast Asia and Guam, as well as US assignments in California and South Dakota. In short, these years of training have been tremendous and helped me find a new direction after my time on active duty was over. Bill GI helped me pay my way through the Fish & Wildlife program at Iowa State University. It was my Bachelor of Science degree that helped me get my job at the Marshall County Conservation Board. Now 17 years after my retirement, I continue to pursue activities that enhance science and learning and the enjoyment of the outdoors.
I am a staunch supporter of legal and ethical hunting, because I know this activity is a primary driver that funds the scientific management of wildlife across the country. Licensing fees paid, both in-state and as a non-resident in other states or provinces, allow research and management programs to work to help resolve ongoing decision-making policy. at the local, state and federal levels. And I am a strong believer in practical, economically viable, and common sense stewardship practices to maintain clean air, healthy soils, and usable water.
I appreciate ARCHERY and ARC HUNTING because this form or hunt is more difficult to master, but it remains a quieter field experience where getting very close to an animal is an accomplishment in itself. Retirement allows me to periodically research new places to visit each year as part of my adventure / travel itinerary. I bow hunting near my home of course because white-tailed deer are common and they provide me with fantastic observation encounters. I have also arched in several western states, several provinces of Canada and as far as South Africa.
PHOTOGRAPHY: This hobby and self-taught method of recording events and places are very satisfying. I like all subjects related to natural history – fauna, flora, earth history, plate tectonics, volcanism. glacial episodes repeatedly reshaping the landscape and warm interglacial periods that allow life to recharge and replenish itself. I have amassed thousands of images, many are correct but a few are great eye-catchers. Photos capture a moment of time forever. And these images allow a viewer to share these magical moments which have added so much to my vocation to make images. When I am able to create a remarkable image, you share the joy of its magical moment.
And finally, FLYING remains another of my occupations. Each take off in my Cessna Skyhawk timeshare allows me to soar with the eagles and see the scenery from high altitude perspectives. It’s relaxing to fly while everything on the ground gets smaller as my plane climbs higher in the air. And from that above ground vantage point, I remember the thoroughness of things that field workers have to go through, and I smile because I’ve been there and done that. My retired environmentalist title is way ahead of anything in second place.
“There are two ways to live your life. One is that nothing is a miracle. The other is that everything is a miracle.
– Albert Einstein