Who Am I?

Dr.Whitey Hitchcock

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.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/health/22cada.html?pagewanted=all
I have chronicled this portion of my life and the lessons learned in a book manuscript, Soul of a Teacher, for which I am currently agent shopping.
During my first year of teaching Coleman McCleneghan introduced me to the world of fungi, and it has become a passion.

WHY BLOG ??

Why a blog???? I love telling stories. I have been a naturalist of sorts most of my life, but even more, I am a teacher both by inclination and training. I have always used stories as my primary teaching tool, because ultimately, at a conceptual level, we all live the same story.

During my high school teaching career, I began a teaching web site that, among other things, had an on-line journal of our activities – both Ecology and Physiology. I was paying personally for the site, so upon retirement I took it down.  Now, with more time to devote to my love of fungi, it just seemed natural to use a blog to tell my experiences to others;  in hopes they might glean some useful information or just share a few laughs – the kind that make you say, “Hey, I’ve been there” or “Never thought of that”. Hopefully both novice and expert will find interesting shards in the detritus of my forays in life. In the end, however, there are many paths to reach the same destination. Mine is not the best or worst – it’s simply mine.

It won’t all be about mushrooms either. You see and experience a lot in the woods while “foraying” (That’s why my first foray, post, was about timber rattle snakes – See: Favorites category in the sidebar).

I will be sharing some of my favorite books, both mushroom guides and mushroom cookbooks. In addition, I do watercolors of some of my favorite mushrooms, and make greeting cards from the oruiginals. I’ll be developing an “Art” page where they can be purchased.