About fred

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

When The Bottom Falls Out of the Food Web

Most people might think it’s a good thing–that there are demonstrably and significantly fewer insects than there were three decades ago. But consider that these morels are critical links between the primary producers (grasses and other greenery that turns sun into food) and the chain of upper-tier eaters that depend on insect biomass to keep […]

Test-tube Earth: The Anthropocene Experiment

Innoculate, Feed, Wait, Observe We are living in the midst and are each of us part of a great experiment. There is no control group laid out to co-exist on a planet where our species has NOT altered the chemistry of the atmosphere. And so we are destined to jump right to the increasingly-likely CONCLUSION: […]