Archivos de diario de agosto 2018

27 de agosto de 2018

Details of my Background

Born in 1952 in the middle of nine children, son of a carpenter (dad) and an avid reader (mom) I first remember thinking of a career as a naturalist in Yosemite National Park on one of several undated trips my family took there, sometimes spending an entire week. We camped 13 weekends in a row one summer, after a near-tragedy at Zuma Beach when two uncles and some sons, including two of my brothers, we swept into the Pacific by the rip tide. Fortunately, the Coast Guard picked up those who didn't make it to shore on their own. Obviously, we liked camping and the beach.

That first birding trip, in October 1966, in Florida during a camping trip, mentioned in my last blog, sparked my interest in birds. I would see a few hundred species before attending college and majoring in Zoology and later Botany as detailed above. At the University of Arkansas (1970-1974), I met Dr. Douglas James, an avian ecologist, who drew my interests into a rather new statistical field, multivariate analysis. For many years, I've summarized his and his student's research by saying, "By measuring 17 habitat characteristics as variables, such as number of trees in 1/10 acre in different size classes, number of twigs per acre at breast height, percent ground and canopy cover, etc., you can determine that a Mockingbird sings from the top of a tree.

However, for reasons listed in my autobiography, "Windsong," my life would take me through 44 jobs, to date. I added a new one this year: using mostly English to teach art to children in China. Dad was a carpenter with nine, so my college life was something I had to figure out independently. Later, I'd get into sales, construction, teaching community college, courses, driving a bus, working in an intensive care unit in a hospital, as a janitor elsewhere, and so on. Eventually, I'd return to the U of A (1989-1991) for a master's in botany. This led to a nearly 17 year career in the US Forest Service, first as a field botanist/ecologist on the Sylamore Ranger District, Ozark National Forest, then in South Carolina at the Savannah River Site, eight years on the Kisatchie National Forest, and a few years as regional ecologist for the Southern Region.

My time in the US Forest Service allowed me to publish a chapter in a book on Carex sedges of the Kisatchie and a chapter in a book on managing mammals in the Southern Region which covers Texas and Oklahoma, east through Kentucky to Virginia and south to Puerto Rico. I've lived about 20 years in Arkansas, eight in Louisiana, seven in California, five in Kentucky, a few in Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and a grand total of 22 weeks scattered across China, mostly in the Shencai community near Shenyang and the small town of Jinjing north of Changsha.

My interest changed over the years, from birds through college, into making a living and raising children (two sons, three daughters, only two of which are "biological"), to collecting plants (Flora of Baxter County, Arkansas, published in 1993 in Casteanea), to writing a book on Carex sedges of Arkansas (available on request still draft but complete) from 1991 to 2011 (a target date set in the early 1990s), to learning Chinese to make friends with Chinese people and biologists.

Currently, I'm interested in Prenanthes (plant) and Odonates (dragon and damsel flies), along with a long term interest in Carex species in Arkansas and China and Echinacea paradoxa var. paradoxa. I'm also interested in any species in China and in Baxter County, Arkansas, where I live.

Ingresado el 27 de agosto de 2018 por sedgehead sedgehead | 9 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

25 de agosto de 2018

Introduction to Sedgehead (me)

This is a test. This is only a test. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And, the bombs are not falling, yet.

I have already posted a general introduction on this website and I've decided to start blogging here occasionally, mainly to track days of photographs and locations. Here's the general intro I currently use:

"As of joining [this website] in August 2018, I'm a 66 year old botanist / ecologist / writer / editor / semi-retired former US Forest Service Regional Ecologist for the Southern Region (Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma, south to Puerto Rico) who is teaching himself Chinese. This year, I'm looking for Nabalas species (Prenanthes) in north central Arkansas, but am the world's expert on Arkansas Carex sedges."

I've found this site quite fascinating. I've been writing in Chinese for years on, a language-learning site which, for nearly two years, has unfortunately not accepted new members.

My original interest, in birds, started at age 14 in 1966 (you do the math) on a field trip while camping with my parents. That led to a degree in zoology (1974) and later a master's degree in botany (1991). I always wanted to be able to identify any species and this site is a great way to improve those skills.

One of several reasons I started to learn Chinese was to communicate with Chinese biologists. But as I like to say, "Learning Chinese (since 2004) is dangerous. It can result in grandchildren." As a result, I've been to China three times now (2014 for six weeks, 2015 four weeks, and 2018 for 12 weeks). This year, I completed my first "grand tour" visiting Shanghai, Yangzhou, Changsha Jinjing where I taught English for six weeks, Chengdu, Sichuan Liangshan Yi, Guangzhou, Hong Kong (for 30 minutes to get a new 60 days on my Chinese visa), Shenzhen, Beijing, Shenyang, and Panjin. I've also been to Qingdao. However, I was not aware of this site at that time, so I have few observations to post from China, so far!

我十四年半学中文可是我不会中文非常好。That is, I can speak and write some Chinese, but not very well.

Ingresado el 25 de agosto de 2018 por sedgehead sedgehead | 3 observaciones | 3 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de agosto de 2018

What is a Sedgehead

The name Sedgehead is not something I created. The words rhyme and are probably a take on the term "motorhead" for people who like to work on motors. In the dim and distant past, some botanist created the term by combining the words "sedge" and "head." I recently learned a word like Sedgehead is called a portmanteau. With the -teau ending it obviously comes from French. It is also a type of suitcase, a portmanteau, that is. You learn something new every day.

I claimed the name "Sedgehead" first on the internet in 1995, but of course, other people use it. However, I was early enough that I captured it for several email names, my website ( and on Twitter (rarely used), Facebook (friends limited to my current family and descendants, mostly), Youtube (account abandoned), Linkedin (checked infrequently), QQ (used daily), WeChat (used daily), and other websites.

At age 66, I'm to the point that if my son doesn't need to keep the site for business, I may find some young sedgehead to take the name (and my website) when I am gone. No one lives forever, after all.

Ingresado el 31 de agosto de 2018 por sedgehead sedgehead | 1 observación | 4 comentarios | Deja un comentario