About Fred

Fred First

Thumbnail Bio and contact info at about.me

This blog was started on a whim in the spring of 2002 because I didn’t know what I was going to do for a living just then. Blogging became a way of sorting things out, then a front porch conversation with new friends. And it still goes on.

I’m an Alabama native, first living in Virginia in 1975. I’ve been a teacher (biology-related classes at Wytheville Community College and three semesters adjunct at Radford University), a physical therapist, and since 2002, a writer. Going back to grad school days at Auburn University, I have enjoyed nature photography and have been digital since 2000, using Nikon cameras and lenses.

The writing finds its way into regular columns in a couple of local newspapers since 2004. I’ve had some 30 essays broadcast on the Roanoke NPR station, WVTF and written two non-fiction books. Here’s the Fragments page where you can find out about both books, Slow Road Home ~ a blue ridge book of days, and the second book published in May of 2009, What We Hold In Our Hands: a Slow Road Reader.

Order forms for check and cash purchases and PayPal buttons for PayPal and credit card purchase are here.

Slow Road Home is now available in a variety of eBook formats. Check this link for a downloadable sample, or to purchase!

My nature and landscape photography shows up regularly on the blog and has been featured in Blue Ridge Country Magazine, Smith Mountain Laker, and widely in regional tourism brochures, ads and magazines.

▶ I’m available to speak with your organization about writing, self-publishing, blogging, life in the southern Appalachians, nature photography or particular topics you might read about in either book such as “nature deficit disorder”, finding new passions or careers in later life, stewardship, elder computer use and multitasking, social capital and community, and sustainable futures.

▶ Also I’m putting words and images together more these days and can tailor a talk with custom image collections and either with essays ready-made from the books or blog or adapted to your audience. These presentations have been appreciated so far by the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, various Friends of Libraries, Women’s Clubs and more in several cities.

If you find something interesting here or over at the main page, please share the link-love! Check out the image galleries, find and click if ads interest you, and find upcoming events and such on the main Fragments page sidebars.

I look forward as much to listening to my audiences as speaking to them. Let me hear from you. Soon!

Fred First / Floyd Virginia / fred1st over at google’s mail

36 Comments on “About Fred

  1. Fred,

    Really nice site you’ve got going on here. I plan to stop by more often and read a little about Floyd.

    Hyderabad, India

  2. Fred, I have just recently found your blog, and have enjoyed reading it. I have spent many summers in Floyd and miss it. Say HI to Charlotte & Ernest Bryant for me if you see/know them. If you don’t you should seek them out. They may make for an interesting blog entry.

    Los Angeles

  3. Accidentally found your blog while looking for a photo of a beech leaf to compare with one I took. I enjoy your writings and amazing photos. A retired corporate librarian, I majored in Botany almost 50 yrs ago so can relate to so much of what you are saying. Thank you! Alice
    Morrow OH

  4. I’m contacting you on behalf of Oscilloscope Pictures to let you know about our next release, FLOW, which will be in theaters this September. This documentary, 5 years in the making, deals with the world water crisis, water commodification, and water privatization. I think this film may be of interest to your readers and would greatly appreciate it if you would post something about it. I’ve included a short synopsis, link to the trailer on YouTube, and link to the official website.

    Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century – The World Water Crisis.
    Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.
    Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question “CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?”
    Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.



    Thank you,
    Oscilloscope Pictures

  5. Fred,

    I follow your blog and that of Doug Thompson. Do you know what happened over there?, the site is not there any more. I am also a Va. photographer (retired) but still love to get out in the countryside & record this great state we live in. Thanks for any information you can pass along.


  6. Hi! I just fell into your blog…I’m just about crying. I lived in Roanoke, Va. in 1978. I haven’t been back, but miss the beauty. Seeing your photos really take me back. I lived deep in the hills between Roanoke and Salem. I was working in the Children’s Library…I think in Petersburg?? Thanks for letting me view your photos. I’ll be back when I have more time. Hope to order a print or cards or something. You made my day!! Thanks!

  7. We just drove from near Sparta NC to Roanoke today and noticed the huge church or monastery at MP 145 for the first time. I was hoping to find an identification for the building when I searched the web and came across your webpage. Do you know the name of the building yet? Beautiful pictures on your web site.

  8. Hey Fred!
    Love the site. I was able to get caught up with Nate, and he brought me back here. Looks like you’re enjoying life. We’re still in Durham. Beth is working in the public schools. Michael turned 16 and McKenzie 14. Know anything about those years?

  9. Good morning. I heard you on radio station WYVE this morning (July 16). Did you ever teach at Wytheville Community College? There was a biology instructor there named Fred First and wondered if that might be you.

  10. Dear Mr/Mrs,

    Surfing and searching the internet I stumbled upon your great website. I also noticed you provide your visitors with links to visitworthy environmental websites.

    On the 22 of July (2009) we launched our new green hub Climatarians (http://climatarians.org). There is A LOT to do on our website:
    – users can create their own blog
    – users can discuss at our forum or in their group
    – users can write articles at our wiki
    – users can login with their Facebook (www.facebook.com) account and invite friends
    – organizations can submit themselves to our directory (oops!… businesses have to pay)
    – users can submit or search events
    – users can submit or search job openings

    We belief that -at least- some of your visitors find our website visitworthy and we hope you want to mention it in an article or grant us a link to our website.

    If you would like to receive more information about me or Climatarians please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

    Best regards,

    Joost Hoogstrate, founder

  11. Hello, Fred, A friend of my sister’s just sent me the link to your Web site, and I am most impressed.

    I, like you, facing unemployment, turned to a pastime to fill the days. In my case, I started a photo series I’d been turning over in my mind for many years. Your essay, Aesthetics of Dilapidation, captures the essence of what I’m trying to do with my photography. I find a definite beauty in abandoned and crumbling places.

    I think it’s important to capture and remember the past before it’s all gone away. I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. Instead, I’ll leave the link:

    Peter Marshall
    Charlottesville, VA

  12. Hello,
    Just finished both your books which I picked up the end of last month at Doughton Park on the Parkway. We live in Davidson County –the Arcadia area–in North Carolina. I work at Salem College in beautiful Old Salem. I enjoyed the books–read them too fast and now want to go back and make notes of what plants to scratch and sniff, what insects to look for on that goldenrod, what books you mentioned I now want to find and read. Your “Digital Reading: More Taste, Less Filling” in What We Hold page 111 resonated. I had just read an article about a college in the northwest substituting Kindles for textbooks. Well there were so many other thought provoking and taste,smell, and sense enlightening parts in both books. Gotta go and get some field guides. Thanks for sharing—–and now I’ve found your website/blog I can keep up with Goose Creek and the Firsts.

  13. Fred, can you send your street address to me. The students want to send a thank you note…Bruce Ingram

  14. Fred, I enjoy your blog and photos very much. I would like to get in touch with you about the possiblity of having you do a presentation for a group event I’m planning. Thanks!

  15. Hi Fred! How is Sunday in Floyd County? Please send your street address. We would like to thank you for the package! (can’t ask my parents since they are traveling across Canada in a train)
    Thank you

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  17. Thanks to Google linking, or whatever it’s called, our two Blogs have been connected. Nice find so far as I am concerned – I’ll maintain contact with Fragments from Floyd.

  18. Fred,
    I found your excellent blog today, thanks to a link from the Nature Blog Network. I hope you do not mind that I have posted a link to “Fragments from Floyd” on MY blog, The Ozarkian (www.theozarkian.wordpress.com). If you check out the site, and prefer that I remove the link, please let me know.

    George Sims
    Mansfield, Missouri

  19. Fred: I enjoy and appreciate all of your posts. Today I was looking for your post or article about suggested rural GPS apps. Did I read that in the Floyd Press, only? If it is on your blog, would you e-mail the link? If it was only in the Floyd Press, please let me know and I’ll find it in the newspaper. Thanks!

  20. Hi there,

    I am a marketing manager and I am seeking to advertise in your blog. Your blog subject is relevant to my product, as it is innovative business software – issue tracker and task management.

    We have a solid background, as our founders have already driven two global companies to success, starting from scratch. So we have strong hope that other products for business, that we have in the pipeline, will be important to the industry.

    Would you be interested in writing about us?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Best regards.
    Nataly Simacheva

  21. Fred…
    Floundered over to your site about a week ago..
    Find myself in the last few years in a similar
    situation as your own.
    Will talk more and elaborate another time,,
    Some of what I just started reading
    of yours reminded me of a very good
    Kentucky writer…Chris Offutt. I can not sing
    high enough praises of him.
    He has it in his blood.
    Check out “No Hero-s”
    It had a pretty profound effect on me.
    Id like u to read it if for no other reason
    than how life was when you started your days back home again.
    This guy has a beautiful and hard edged style.
    Someday ,,when /if I get brave enough I may make it
    from Dallas back to where the Little and Roanoke part company… Joe

  22. I have an ancient gizzard stone found here in Dublin. I found from
    3 to 5 in my life on our farm. I did not realize what they were until
    I was in a museum in the West. The farm is now owned by our
    billionaire Kirk.

  23. Great blog here! Also your website loads up very fast! What web host
    are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
    to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  24. I’ve just found your blog and I’m really enjoying it. Sounds like you’ve accomplished the sort of photography and writing I’d like to do myself – you’re an inspiration.

  25. Excellent site. A lot of useful info here. I’m sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your sweat!

  26. After looking at a number of the articles on your
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  27. Hello,

    I’d like to inquire if it’s possible to purchase advertising space on fragmentsfromfloyd.com.

    If there is any space available please let me know and we could discuss further details.

    Looking forward to your positive reply.



  28. Hi Mr. First, I was a student of yours 42yrs ago at WCC. I was the student that made the bone marrow cake. Just found your cute story in my Chicken Soup book. Never forgot you. You were a great teacher

    Jan LaFon

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