I’ll miss this last SustainFloyd movie (and turkey dinner!) of the season this Sunday, but maybe a few of you will plan to go. (If you do, I hear they need another few veggie dishes and desserts.)

Ground Operations [details for the event] is a short (40 minute) award-winning documentary. It tells the encouraging story of the ways that returning veterans from today’s divers wars are finding solace and healing in soil-based occupations.

It’s not a big stretch, I think, to connect this “green benefit” to the widely-known advantages of connecting city kids, autistic and ADHD kids and people in general with the outdoors. Re-naturing and re-localizing are elements in no small number of recent initiatives to scale back, slow down and reconnect with the natural world.

The pendulum swings.


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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I remember a very stressful time in my life and some trips I took to a stream that was close. I needed to hear that white noise.

    When I see those images of some city schools on the news I don’t know what to think, it seems like a foreign land.

  2. One reason I think we are happiest of all the places we have lived while at Goose Creek is that we have the forest at hand and always the sound of the creeks through every season. there is good health in just waking up there every day for the past fifteen years.