Thank you Ralph Anderson!
Here at Wallowology, we call Ralph our naturalist, go-to critter guy, hiking guide, storyteller (restless kid hypnotist), resource finder, Facebook manager, monthly newsletter contributor, and our first Gaining Ground (Wallowology’s monthly giving program) member. Ralph just calls himself an Old Geezer.
Retired from the Forest Service as a Wildlife Biologist, Ralph’s current full-time job does take on a geezerish flavor—nature communer, whittler, and forager. With help from his hired nose, Casper the flop-earred Brittany, Ralph is on the lookout for what each season brings and says he is always learning something new. (He is currently drying 6 boxes of foraged apples and 20 gallons of nettles.)
Ralph grew up on the edge of Seattle across from a golf course. When asked if his parents were outdoorsy and that’s why he enjoys nature, he said “We all grew up outdoors back then!” Ralph’s love of the outdoors may not be unusual, but what is, perhaps, is his list of pets: ordinary cats and dogs, mice, squirrels (those that fly and those that don’t), owls, ducks, and strays of all sorts. At a young age he came across someone into falconry and started tagging along. Soon he was raising his own stray owls. One Great Horned Owl fell out of a nest and “Owliver” followed him around and became his wrassling partner. His cat cornered a Northern Flying Squirrel and he carried the rescued squirrel in his pocket for years. Ralph says his parents tolerated his furry friends and strays but ended up taking care them when he was drafted and served three years in the Army. “They even raised mice just to feed the owl!” said Ralph.
After service and some college back home, Ralph was hired by the Forest Service in Wallowa as a Forestry Technician. This job morphed into a Wildlife Technician and then into a Wildlife Biologist, and consequently he became intimately familiar with the Wallowa country from the ground up. Ralph learned a lot about the timber sale program during the "timber wars" and taught many wildlife biologists how to work through it with habitat in mind. Ralph retired in 2002 but has continued to do consulting for an impressive list of national, regional and local organizations. Locally he has been involved with Wallowa Resources, Wallowa Land Trust, The Homeland Project and Wallowa History Center.
He joined Wallowology at its conception, and his vision includes an increase in citizen science projects, growth in workshops, an increase in community partnerships, and more security in programs and resources. “Wallowology needs to engage individuals and groups in sustainability, learning, depth ecology and sacred landscapes,” Ralph said, “and there needs to be more organizations that support a sustainable economy verses an extraction economy.”
Pretty articulate for an Old Geezer! Thank you Ralph for your knowledge and generous service to Wallowology and your community.