As the son of a forester, I grew up in small towns in L.A. (Lower Alabama). My friends and I would roam the woods constantly and occasionally my father would take me along in his work. Mother loved nature – especially wildflowers, and the family would often spend weekend days going to the swimming hole and picking fruits, nuts and other bounty along the way. Mother was born in western North Carolina, and we made numerous summer camping trips to that region. It should be no surprise that I became a naturalist by inclination.
My professional career has generally followed two parallel tracks:
(1) I am a forester with a B.S. from the University of Tennessee and an M.S. in forestry from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. I’ve worked for the TVA and the US Forest Service.
(2) I am a physiologist. I earned my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Tennessee, in 1988. I developed Pat Summitt’s first conditioning program at UT and was on her staff for four years leading up to her first NCAA title. I taught at UAB , worked for the VA Hospital in Birmingham, and then returned to UT for a secondary teaching certificate in Biology.
Fundamentally, I am a teacher. I recently retired from teaching high school for 16 years where I developed courses in my two areas of expertise: Ecology and Anatomy & Physiology. See the New York Times feature on my use of human cadavers in high school.
I have chronicled this portion of my life and the lessons learned in a book manuscript, Soul of a Teacher.
During my first year of teaching Coleman McCleneghan introduced me to the world of fungi, and it has become a passion.