Most of my life has been and continues to be devoted to my love of nature and its ever-changing expressions and stories.
This intense relationship grew through working with many animals and developing environmental-themed activities at the Boston Zoo many years ago, followed by a Master’s degree in Botany from Clark University USA and then a Ph.D. in Biology from Clark University in Worcester MA and the University of Tuebingen in Germany in 1988.
A prime inspiration was the wonderful, renowned evolutionary biologist thinker-extraordinaire, the late Lynn Margulis. She got me into the symbiotic world of corals, fungi, protists, and the very origins of our cells. My symbiosis passion grew, and I was fortunate to serve as President of the International Symbiosis Society – a group of several hundred accomplished ecology researchers and educators from around the world for ten years. I also initiated and directed a unique international microbial ecology program, Microcosmos, during my early days as Professor of Science Education at Boston University.
More recently, I have built upon my more than two decades of teaching a unique and far-reaching Global Ecology course to create the Global Ecology Education Initiative (GEEI). This Program, based now at UMass/Boston School for the Environment, promotes the need amongst everyone, especially with young people in schools and communities, to develop earth-centered ethics that foster respect for place (our home, earth) and the adhereing to fundamental biosphere/ecology "rules." The Program particularly reveals the vast grassroots and indigenous peoples leadership in eco-sustainability around the world. Through this and related programs, I have conducted or arranged over 250 workshops and have given more than 200 invited multi-media talks throughout the United States, Spain, Poland, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Puerto Rico, Canada, England, and New Zealand. Venues have included Oxfiord University (UK), Jagiellonian University (Kraków), the Exploratorium of San Francisco, Universities of Auckland and Otago (NZ), Autonomous University (Barcelona), and the New York Hall of Science. I also led extended Global Ecology field explorations for students to New Zealand and more recently have led trips for researchers and science educators to the remote rainforest regions of Tiputini-Yasuni in the northwest Amazon, a region under severe threat from further fossil fuel extraction.
I have benefitted immensely from the boundless positive spirit, wit, and love expressed by my now deceased mom, Florence, who created right up until 90 years old lovely and cherished paintings in oils, often of nature, as a hobby. I have drawn a lot of inspiration in both my photographic art, as a global ecologist, and toward my nature-centered moral compass from my readings of and about the great Alexander von Humboldt, Henry David Thoreau and indigenous peoples' leaders as well as from the paintings and timeless creative spirit of Heade, Wyspianski, Turner, Church, and Giorgione. While I never took the time to learn to play an instrument, it has meant a great deal to be inspired by the likes of the Beatles, Donovan, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Jesse Cooke; jazz artists Lyambiko, Omar Sosa, the late Charkes Hayden; and timeless classical artists like Chopin. Above all, so many of my former students have become colleagues and friends centered around earth/nature-centered values over the years, with the most special cherished friends being my wife Mary and son Darwin.
My photography interest was with me through all these science/nature/community journeys. Indeed, my interest in art extends back to childhood when I thought about playwriting. Later, I got into some acting and focused on urban community rights activism including the forming of a grassroots art gallery in Boston's unique multi-ethnic/racial South End. I then wanted briefly to explore film directing before actually settling on simply enjoying "in my free time" what i could do with a camera. Later as my science/nature involvements evolved, I found that my photo art could effectively be a part of the earth- and nature-appreciation education to which I was and remain committed.