Showing posts from February, 2012

The Spirit of the Thing I

Early In 2010 a number of North American native plant devotees gathered at the North Carolina State Arboretum in Asheville to spend some time considering the native vegetation of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.I was asked to open the gathering with a reflection on the reason for our gathering.
I’ve been reflecting.
I’m old enough to do that now, you know…to reflect.
When you’re young they won’t let you reflect. You have to do, not reflect.If you’re reflecting they think you’re lazy.I never could get my parents to understand that. “Tom get up and mow that lawn,” my father would say. “But Dad, I’m reflecting.”For some reason he didn’t buy it.
When you get older, you have to reflect because they won’t let you do.
But I’ve out-foxed ‘em because I not only still do, I reflect on my doing and on the doing of others.
And today I’m going to share some of those reflections.
As some of you know, I’m a biologist with specialization in ecology and a career in natural resource management and conserv…

Journey into Mediation

No life is linear and I’ve had the opportunity to take several side trips during my own professional life.One of those was into mediation.This work started as a workplace dispute practitioner for the federal agency employing me.Following retirement from the federal government, I expanded on those skills with substantial additional training and conducted hundreds of mediations in several levels of civil court in North Carolina and Georgia. I’m sure that my mediation training and skills have carried over and into the natural resource management work in conservation biology I continue to this day. Although much mediation is routine, a matter of process as one works through the steps toward resolution, other cases are uniquely interesting.I remember a court case that was never referred to mediation.I had the opportunity to watch it in court while waiting for a mediation assignment. I call this… The Pig that ‘twern’t” and Other Cultural Considerations “It twern’t no pig,” repeated the elderly…