Go, Wisconsin!

Sorry, I’m not much fun today. I’m trying (without success so far) to get my head in the game for a conference I signed up for back early in the summer.

I won’t say it was a whim, but it is a gamble, somewhat, as I’m spending into the red, and I’ll be on the periphery (while a full member in good standing) of the Society of Environmental Journalists who meet for their annual conference this year in Madison, Wisconsin–a new state to add to my tiny list of travel destinations. Most of these folks attending have a bond of brothers and sisters in the trenches–which journalism certainly has become, and environmental soldiers especially oppressed.

But last year’s SEJ meeting conveniently located in Roanoke did a lot to charge my batteries and to make me realize even on the edge of things as an unknown writer from a rural eddy in the larger current of things, I might be able to influence the world for good. Might even be that this involvement with SustainFloyd became more likely by the renewed urgency I came home with last year from the SEJ event–an energy that lead to several news columns and maybe even to the second book.

So this morning, I sat down with the agenda and filled my calendar for three solid days of sit-listen-smile; chat-eat-imbibe while writing notes and collecting freebies for the suitcase home. I want to be engaged, accessible, interested and present. Not there quite yet.

For my chronicles, here’s a link to the agenda, some fixed, some choices out of a number of concurrent field trips or sessions.

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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. That’s an impressive agenda, Fred! Looks like you’ll have to come home to Goose Creek to relax and absorb all of your experiences. I was in Milwaukee some years ago – went to an Irish fest. Lots of fun – a very pretty state.

  2. Fred, This is a good time for you to get away and wrap yourself around this important mission. You will find Madison beautiful, with lots of friendly people. The closing party at the Leopold Center in Baraboo is worth the trip by itself. Be sure to bring your camera to that, to photograph the cranes.