Meet the Board Part III: Bob Groves

Jul 06, 2011
Author Mary Sojourner continues her Meet the Board series, with an interview of board member Bob Groves.

Sunlight floods the little Ponderosa grove outside my apartment.  The first pure white clouds of the monsoon season have begun to drift in.  The rains will not slam down till early July, but I can already feel my joy when they do.  I'm tempted to google Bend weather and don't.  You read my words and know your own weather.

I think of another bright day at Camp Polk Meadow nearly a month ago.  Deschutes Land Trust staff and volunteers carried plastic bags of baby Steelhead to Whychus Creek to release them into their journey home.  I watched the tiny slivers of almost pure silver swim from the bag and instantly head upstream.  I saw the delighted smiles on the faces of those who freed them.  A tall man walked toward me.  I remembered him from the Deschutes Land Trust Board retreat.  He, Robert Groves and I crossed one of the little bridges and went to listen to Rod Bonacker talk with a circle of others about the history and ecology of Camp Polk Meadow.  I asked Robert if he'd be willing to be interviewed.  His grin said it all.

We interviewed by email.  Here is Robert Groves:

MS:  If you could go back to a place and time in your childhood, where and when would that be?

BG:  I would like to go back to the cabin my Dad built on Outlet Creek north of Willits, California.  It was there I was introduced to the wild places, plants, and animals that would lead me to a love of all wild places and wild things.  It was in this remote valley with its golden grasses, abandoned apple  orchard, and oak, fir, and redwood forested ridges that I came to know rattle snakes, salamanders, squirrels, and birds and  deer.  I first saw spawning steelhead in the swollen spring waters of the creek and caught trout  in the slow low pools of summer.    All day long I could hear my father's hammer  ringing as he built our cabin,  while I sat on the stream bank and intently watched my  bobber  above my bait near the bottom of the stream bed.  All of this was fascinating to me and still is.  Sadly, the drug traffickers now grow marijuana in the area and you can get nowhere near the place.

MS:  When did you learn - and how - that the earth was not a pristine and infinitely renewable resource?

BG:  I became aware of the loss of the earth's resources in the late 1960's and have been monitoring and  fighting the trend ever since,  in the areas where I thought I could make a difference.

MS:  Tell us the smells and sounds of three of your favorite wild places.  We often neglect the other sensory modalities in favor of sight.

BG:  In my favorite wild place along the lower Deschutes River, I have had the pleasure of spending many long warm days outside with the fragrance of sage and juniper and other high desert plants which becomes particularly noticeable after a rain shower in  the first presence of the warming sun.  The bird calls and songs of the canyon wren, says phoebe, bullock's oriole, and the western tanager to name a few are my companions all day long.  At night the tremolo sound of the screech owls and sometimes the booming hoot of the great horned owl are with us.  We hear the flute like call of the golden eagle and the piercing whistle of the osprey hawk when they are soaring overhead frequently.  Maybe our favorite call is that of the secretive yellow breasted Chat, the last to bird to be heard down in the thickets along the creek in the evening.  Rarely we hear the whistling call of the bull elk when the rut is on after the first chilly nights in the fall, and in the early summer we sometimes hear the mewing sounds of baby mule deer looking for their mothers.

MS:  What would your deepest wish for you planet be?

BG:  I wish that the people of the earth could make the decisions that would allow us to live in a  sustainable equilibrium  with our environment and in peace with each other.