Nature Author/Photographer Fred First to Speak

…at Moneta/Smith Mountain Lake Library, Thursday, May 5, at 6 pm. Public is invited. More details….

For this event, I will likely read three or maybe four pieces that provide very indirect support for the notion that we cannot have “homeland security” if, in our  growing up and in our adult settled years, we do not establish a true and lasting bond to the places we call home and to the land under our feet and the nature around us.

Both the writing and photography, I have realized fairly recently, are means to an end: to lay down benchmarks in time and place, to make maps for myself, to take my bearings from these landmarks, and travel on.

This particular presentation will be oral, but the combination of the images and words together, though a more complicated production by far than simply turning the pages to read, is perhaps a more powerful way to share this “place—based” literary and photographic philosophy.


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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. Fred,
    your photographs are beautiful and they tell a wonderful story,including the area where my husband Gerald and i lived on Goose Creek. The area is magicial.
    I lost my husband to a fire Feb. 6.202l. He was working in his garage and apparently set his clothes on fire and apparently came into the laundry room to get water. Our house was totaled along with everything in it, as well as both cars and my precious exotic chocolate cat.
    The good news is my house is finally rebuilt and full of some of my favorite things.The contractor had a difficult time getting materials. We usually came by about this time of year for a visit to you and ann. It was always fun. I love Goose

    Judie Huffman