A Man Who Loved His Work

My dad and son as they check out birds through the scope in Arcata, CA.

Life is a series of challenges. At some point, most people face career decisions. They may be earning the most money ever yet be unhappy because their job doesn’t provide happiness or satisfaction. Even though they’d probably like to do something else, they might not be able to change careers without taking a financial hit. Is that a tradeoff they’re willing to make?

One of the things I always tried to talk to my students about, even in elementary school, was the importance of choosing a career that gave them happiness. Getting paid well was a nice bonus, but their most important focus should be finding a job that brought them joy. Considering many of us spend one-third or more of our day at work, that seems like a no-brainer.

I formed this belief from watching my dad. When someone asks me to describe him, one of the first qualities that come to mind was Dad loved his work. He was a wildlife biologist working for the Fish and Wildlife Service. As I grew up, we worked our way from the east to the west coast. I was born in Washington D.C. (We lived in Laurel, MD, at the time), and we moved three times while I was going through elementary, middle school, and high school. Besides Maryland, we lived in Brookings, South Dakota; Jamestown, North Dakota; and Arcata, California.

Mom and Dad—the binoculars were always close by.

Each of our moves centered around Dad’s job. His team worked to restore the black-footed ferret population in North and South Dakota. Later, I started high school in California when Dad began working with a subspecies of the Canada Goose called the Aleutian Canada Goose.

The black-footed ferret is one of the most endangered animals in North America and the only ferret species native to the continent. Scientists believe there are fewer than 400 of them in the wild today. The biggest obstacle to the black-footed ferret’s survival is disease and loss of their habitat.

The black-footed ferret (Photo credit to Pinterest)

The ferret has many natural predators in the wild, including bobcats, coyotes, and badgers. They also are prey for larger birds such as owls, hawks, and eagles. Part of the problem with releasing captive ferrets back into the wild is that animals raised in captivity may lack the ability to survive in the wild. They are nocturnal animals and do much of their hunting inside prairie dog burrows.

Conservation efforts to grow the black-footed ferret population have involved raising young ferrets in captivity before releasing them in selective locations where they have active food sources. Wildlife biologists have worked closely with ranchers, who traditionally have fought against prairie dogs to create buffer zones where the animals can thrive.

The black-footed ferret (Photo credit to Pinterest)

Biologists believed the black-footed ferret was extinct in 1979, but some sightings occurred in 1981 in Wyoming. The black-footed ferret’s survival is tied hand in hand with prairie dogs as they are the ferrets’ primary food source.

Catching the black-footed ferret at night as a conservation method.

We moved to California in 1973 when Dad became a member of the recovery team for the Aleutian Canada goose, once considered to be a subspecies of the well-known Canada goose. The species is now known as the Aleutian cackling goose and seems to be a subspecies of the cackling goose. Though slightly smaller with shorter necks, they are often mistaken for the Canada goose due to their physical resemblance. They are one of the smaller species of geese, only slightly bigger than mallards.

Aleutian cackling goose (Photo from Pinterest)

The history of the Aleutian cackling goose is quite interesting. These geese were once plentiful in the Aleutian Islands, the 1,100 mile-long-chain composed of 144 islands southwest of Alaska. Most of the islands belong to Alaska, but a few are part of Russia. When Russian fur traders introduced the Arctic fox to the islands the birds nearly became extinct. After decades had passed of no sightings, a scientist found 300 cackling geese nesting on Buldir Island.

In 1967, the geese officially became an endangered species. This measure was the spark that led to a comeback in the geese population as wildlife biologists like my dad developed a recovery plan to restore their numbers. A significant step in their restoration was the trapping of Arctic foxes in the Aleutian Islands. The geese population grew steadily following the foxes’ relocation. In 1990 they moved from endangered to threatened status. There are well over 200,000 Aleutian cackling geese today and no longer considered threatened, so their recovery has been an enormous success.

Aleutian cackling goose—(Photo from Pinterest)

Aleutian cackling geese are migratory birds flying from the Aleutian Islands to as far south as Mexico, though most migrate to the Central Valley of California. The birds typically spend part of the winter in our area of northern California on Humboldt Bay. Many will stay here for about a month before flying further south to the Central Valley. Again, there are many geese in the area before they return north to the Aleutian Islands in early April. Aleutian cackling geese are endurance athletes, migrating as far as 3,000 miles.

While in our area, they typically spend the night on the water and fly over to the farmers’ fields by day. Their numbers have increased so much that some farmers and ranchers are concerned about damage to their fields. The birds are so plentiful that it is now legal to hunt them again. Spectators may see as many as 40,000 geese circling Humboldt Bay at sunrise if they’re up by dawn.

Aleutian cackling goose comeback story

Though a wildlife lover of all animals, Dad’s passion was with birds. I remember going out with him on bird counts in the Dakotas. We’d be up at the crack of dawn, traveling down the back roads of North Dakota. Dad would stop every half mile and have a couple of minutes to identify any birds he saw. I served as the data collector and recorded the list of birds Dad saw as he called them out. While I never developed the birding bug that both of my parents had, I remember it was a terrific way to spend time with my dad as a kid as we started those cold mornings with hot chocolate or chicken broth.

I learned a lot of things from Dad. While he was thrifty, he had a generous heart. He donated his time and money to causes that were dear to him. In that manner, I am very much like my father. While I never became as passionate as Dad about birding, I developed a healthy respect for nature. Above all, Dad was a man of principle. He taught me to find my voice and speak up if a business did not provide the service that I paid for. Dad was many things, but I’ll remember most that he was a good man.

My dad and son looking for birds.

115 thoughts on “A Man Who Loved His Work

  1. A wonderful tribute to your Dad! Very cool about the work that he did, but most of all about his generous, caring heart, and the lessons that he instilled in your heart.
    My son had 3 ferrets for awhile. They are fun creatures to watch and can be very loving. One of them, our favorite, would stand on his hind legs and raise his paw to be picked up. Many times he would sleep in my son’s lap as he was reading.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 7:51 pm

      It’s not a pet that you typically hear people having. It sounds like they made good pets for you. My dad was very much a scientist, and he liked to understand why things were the way there are. I am the same way, which sometimes drives my wife nuts. 🤣

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  2. I enjoyed reading about your dad’s calling. (His work sounds like a calling, rather than a career or a job.) That first photo shows such tenderness toward your son, a very special moment.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 7:54 pm

      I never heard him ever complain about going to work. I think your description is apt, Liz. he didn’t think of his work as a job, but as something that made him happy. He was very smart (Ph.D.) yet humble. When we came to California, I think he enjoyed working with graduate students from our local university.

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      1. A remarkable man all the way around. 🙂

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  3. Thanks for these good memories of your Dad, Pete, and also the information about black-footed ferrets and cackling geese. There are a lot of Canada geese on Vancouver Island (and lots of other places), but I’d never heard of these smaller ones.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 7:56 pm

      They are hard to tell apart when they’re swimming with Canada geese (at least for the untrained eye like me.) My wife fell in love with Vancouver when we were there before Covid. You’ve found a little slice of heaven, Audrey.

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  4. Your stories about your Dad and his work are always interesting. He did such an important job and I am glad that he was successful in bringing the geese back. You probably think about him every time you see one! We used to have a pet ferret, and it was a very interesting animal to have as a pet.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 10:06 pm

      We are right in their flight path, and we hear and see them all the time. The geese make me think of Dad all the time.

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  5. What a lovely tribute to your dad. You are a lucky guy.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 10:09 pm

      No question about that, Rosi. I feel incredibly blessed and responsible for carrying out my parents’ legacy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You and your dad were both fortunate to find your passion in your work. That has great value as you say. Black-footed ferrets are cute. I hope they make a comeback.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 10:12 pm

      I saw a statistic last year that said over 50% of people hate their job. That is mind-blowing to me. If I hated my job, I would look for plan B and form an exit strategy.

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  7. What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Pete. It seemed like he had a fulfilling career doing what he loved to do. It must be fun following him around watching all the animals. What great memories you had with your dad. The dad and son photo is precious. The ferrets and geese are beautiful creatures.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 10:15 pm

      I was grateful that our son grew up around his grandparents. They used to take him for weekend getaways in their motor home. It makes me think of your recent post about seeing your grandkids and giving your daughter and son-in-law a couple of date nights. That was a win-win for both you and them.

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      1. There’s a grandparent legacy movement in some joint churches. It has annual conference to promote grandparent-grandkids connections and learn about passing on the legacy to the next generations. I haven’t gone to any conferences, but I’m for the bonding with my grandkids and making a difference in their lives.

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      2. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 4:04 pm

        I forget what the program was called, but I remember my parents going to some kind of camp with individual grandchildren to share experiences together.

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  8. ❤❤ “Pick what you love, and pays a living wage” is what we tell the boys.

    Your post reminded me of a film I watched whilst recurring from the C-Section. I think it was called “The Best Year.” It’s about three top birders in America trying for a ‘best year’ of bird sightings.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 11, 2022 — 10:21 pm

      Sounds like practical parenting advice to me. I haven’t heard of that film. My dad was all about the rare bird find. We always had bird feeders at our home. One year some bird far out of its normal range showed up, and the word got out in the birding world. I remember people I’d never met before showing up at our house to catch a sight of this bird.

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      1. You might like the film, then. What’s interesting is the three birders are played by Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, and Jack Black. It’s very clean, show-moving, and accurate to its story line.

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  9. what a wonderful tribute to your dad, pete. he sounds like such a good and interesting man, who was the model for the good people you, his children, all became.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 12:02 am

      He and my mom had the best marriage and were committed to helping their community. As one of my friends said when describing them, “They were salt of the earth types.”

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You were cut from an amazing piece of cloth, my friend! You certainly have the same passion for your work as your father did and a desire to share it with others. A wonderful tribute to an exceptional man!

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 7:38 am

      Thanks for your kind words, Brad. I loved my job and the responsibilities that went with it.

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  11. A wonderful tribute to your Dad, Pete. I can see much love and tenderness in the photos. You may have inherited his love of nature but I also see an open-hearted willingness to serve in both of you. His legacy continues… ❤

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 7:42 am

      Thank you, Jane. It’s good for a child to witness someone passionate about what they do, especially a parent. Dad loved his work and his family.

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  12. A lovely tribute to your Dad and his work, Pete. He was genuinely a good man, and that seems to have been passed to you, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 7:51 am

      I’d like to think that. It certainly has been on my mind. When I look at our son, I’m most proud that he is a genuinely good person. We’re flying out to see he and his fiancee in the next couple of days.

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      1. I think it is passing through the generations! I hope you enjoy your visit with them – tell us all about it, please 😊

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      2. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 3:19 pm

        I’m checking a Bucket List item off next month and going to spend some time with each of my three older brothers. I know that one should give me plenty of things to write about.

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      3. That’s great! I look forward to that 😊

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  13. Seriously cool career. And a splendid tribute to the man behind the cans. I think nature loving dad’s are the best. Mine was an amateur conservationist breeding butterflies and moths to help beef up their popullations. And as little boys my bro and I would tag along absorbing it all.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 7:53 am

      Very cool, Geoff. One of my brothers is very much into birds, but his passion is for butterflies as well. He is vice-president of the North American Butterfly Association.

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  14. Such a nice tribute to your father. So nice to have a career that you love. Anyone who likes nature has to be a special person. Nature is a passion for me and I commend those that work to preserve endangered creatures of the world.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 7:56 am

      Your photographs show your respect for nature, Peggy. We have messed up the planet in many ways, but Earth is a resilient place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes – mankind is messing this world up.

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  15. That is such a wonderful post, Pete. I learned a lot about the black-footed ferret and the Aleutian Canada goose, but most of all I learned about the man who found his passion in them. This was a great tribute to your father and all that he taught you about life. Beautiful share! ❤️

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 7:58 am

      My parents were people of integrity and were selfless to their core. I hope that I can live my life with those same traits.

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  16. when your career is related to your passion it is not work. sounds like he made a large impact in the community he loved and passed on many passions to you. those creatures are lucky to have him in their corner

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 8:04 am

      Many educators are also passionate about their work and students. I hope you touch a lot of lives in your career, Lori.

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  17. No wonder your dad loved his job! I have worked with folk like this for many years, some retire and keep coming to the office every day! I’m an entomologist. Nice tribute to your dad.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 8:34 am

      It gets in our blood. I had been volunteering at my old school until Covid. I find it energizing to be around kids. I’m sure your work is fascinating, Alessandra. One of my brothers is into insects as well. When he was out this way, he knew that there had been tiger beetle sightings in our area, so we looked for them. We managed to find some and photographed them. The ones we saw looked a lot like these: https://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/tiger-beetles

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  18. Very nice post. Having a career that you love, or at least like, is so important. It is reflected in a positive attitude and an ability to appreciate and enjoy life in general. Sounds like your dad set a good example.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 8:06 am

      Having a living wage is essential, but for the longevity factor alone, it makes it a lot easier to get up and go to work if we like what we do.

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  19. I love this so much, Pete. It is rare in life that we get to pick a job that we love while making a living. To me, that is a double blessing indeed. Your father sounds like a wonderful man, and judging by the character of his son, he did a great job of raising you. What a fascinating career he had!

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 8:10 am

      Sometimes, people get stuck in a career because they have so many financial obligations, but why stick with something that you don’t like doing? Most writers don’t make a lot of money, but you seldom meet anyone who doesn’t like the creative challenge.

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  20. This is terrific, thanks for sharing….I always told my kids that, since they’d have to work for a living, why not do something you love? Both have done just that!

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 8:12 am

      Then you taught them well. Do either of them share your love for cooking? As the old saying goes, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

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      1. My son is a terrific Chef, and my wife now won’t let me make a steak as it pales in comparison to what he makes…he also has taken on a number of elaborate dishes that are really showing off his skill!

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      2. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 3:21 pm

        I imagine you must feel some pride in your son’s skills. Very cool that you share this in common.

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  21. What a lovely peek into your Dad, Pete. Such a great role model as you grew up.

    I wonder if you’d like to write a guest post on my blog for my series about Teacher-Authors. I was thinking about you sharing your approachable, relatable thoughts on morphing from teacher to author for your second life. How did you do that? How does teaching impact what you now write? Are you still teaching through your new books (I know you were with They Call Me Mom–such a great how-to for new teachers)? Any time is great–no pressure. Your voice is exactly what I like on my blog. Email me at askatechteacher@gmail.com. Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 8:16 am

      Thanks for that opportunity, Jacqui. I’ll be glad to take you up on that. I just did a podcast with Rebecca Budd that I think she will be airing next week, and we discussed some of your questions.

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      1. I will watch it, Pete. Thanks.

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  22. I love this blog, Peter!
    Also, the pictures are familiar and so fun to see!
    Yes, I so agree! Your dad, and my father-in-law, was a good man, and he, and your mother, raised four sons who grew into good men as well!
    💖

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 8:20 am

      As you well know, there is no better feeling than watching your kids grow into good people. You and Tom have raised four incredible kids—no small feat. Looking forward to seeing you soon, Ann.

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  23. Pete, I enjoyed reading about your dad and the geese. We get plenty of geese here in Folsom, including on top of our roof. Having grown up in Arcata, I recognized the last picture in your post as being of your dad and Ryan on Charles Avenue below the Hnilo house. Thanks for taking me back to the ol’ neighborhood.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 3:36 pm

      I probably never told you this, but my parents put in an offer to buy that house when we first moved to Arcata. I remember my mom saying, “It’s okay. I didn’t really want to wash all those windows anyway.

      Farmers and ranchers in our area are perturbed by the geese as they can wreak havoc in a field quickly.

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  24. Hi Pete, it is lovely that your dad was so passionate about his job. His work would have been very rewarding. I find the deal structuring part of my job very interesting and it work the little grey cells very hard. I am not that keen on working with other people though. The selfish, honest truth is that other people slow me down and I like to just go, go, go and get things done. Now that I like to try to fit blogging and writing into my day, I am even less generous about my time when it comes to work. I prefer writing and blogging to corporate finance.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 4:08 pm

      That’s perfectly understandable. You’ve got your primary job that pays most of the bills, and then you can spend your free time (free time—what’s that?) pursuing the things that give you more pleasure. (i.e., writing, photography, cooking, etc.)

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  25. The ferrets are beautiful! How wonderful to know your father had a hand in bringing them back from extinction.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 4:10 pm

      Yes, I’m proud of him for his work and for being a good man. I have never seen a ferret in the wild before, but the geese fly right over our house all the time.

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  26. A loving tribute to your Dad, Pete. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 4:12 pm

      I’ve been blessed with many special people in my life. It’s nice to have the time to be able to recognize them publicly.

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  27. What a wonderful post about your dad and his work, Pete. My dad also gave me an appreciation of nature that I still carry with me today. That’s very cool that the work he did has ensured that these animals are still here today. That’s such a precious gift to future generations of humans, never mind the animals. 🙂 Thanks for the education too. I love learning about animals and the good works of people like your dad who are invested in their survival. Great post, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 4:15 pm

      I often think of students I taught who didn’t have parents who served as role models for them. Some have still lived successful lives, but that usually was because another person filled that void.

      You live in a beautiful area of the country. Oregon is one of my favorite states.

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      1. 🙂 Great point, Pete, about the importance of mentors and taking a few minutes to be kind.

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  28. Pete – a fabulous post about your father and a life well lived. I could hear his voice through your words and felt the energy of joy and fulfillment. I have often wondered how our life work finds us. It seems that serendipity or providence finds a way to invite us to a specific calling. What I most appreciated was that your father created profound memories for those who came after him. When I face challenges, somewhere back in my memory bank, I hear my father’s voice reaching out to me. The memories that he gave me sustain me as I move along my time line. Many thanks for a poignant reminder that love continues.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 4:19 pm

      I don’t know if you feel the same way, but I feel a responsibility to carry the family name forward with the same respect that my parents demonstrated to me. My brothers are all remarkable guys, and I think my parents would be proud of how all their sons turned out.

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  29. Like myself, you were blessed with a good father who was a great role modal. How wonderful that he was part of bringing back the Aleutian Cackling Goose and the black-footed ferrets. His advice to find work you enjoy was perfect. A great post!

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 4:22 pm

      I know so many people who complain about their job or the people they work with. I don’t ever recall my Dad complaining about any of that. Part of his job involved indoor work, but he was happiest when he could get out into the field.

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      1. My dad as well. He worked so hard but he loved farming/ranching and when he finished his work, he would help his neighbours. Working outdoors was a pleasure for him.

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  30. Your father and your son…such a natural living legacy. Your family is a fine example of all that’s right in this world!
    Field biologists are nothing if not passionate doing what they most love – seriously a breed apart. I worked with the foremost herpetologist as a work study in college (he & his wife were also part of our ‘adopted’ family as a teen growing up in the same neighborhood in Boulder). I unwittingly grew to love and handle the herps just because of his quiet grace, knowledge, caring and sharing of his world…a scientist like your father.
    🙂

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 5:16 pm

      Passionate is precisely the right word for many field biologists. I was occasionally at some function where many others were gathered, and I could see they were the same way. Ir was like a Star Trek convention or something. I think it’s great when anyone is that excited about their work.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 6:20 pm

      We loved having our son grow up near his grandparents. My mom used to love to tell the story of picking up Ryan from preschool. He would hop in the car excitedly asking, “Where are we going today, Grandma?”❤

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  31. A wonderfull tribute to your dad, Pete! Love the photographs and your wise words about finding the JOY in life and going after it! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 7:19 pm

      Thanks for reading, Bette. The words “life is meant to be lived” come to mind. We should all be so lucky to find something that makes us happy while caring for our family.

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  32. Aww, that tugged a few heartstrings, for sure. And I wish I had a teacher like you, because growing up in an Asian environment, our mission was always to study hard, get good grades, work, and earn as much money as we could. Took me a few failed careers to realise that the pursuit of money alone was a terrible way to live life. Anyway, thanks for sharing the lessons you learned from your awesome dad!

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    1. petespringerauthor April 12, 2022 — 9:14 pm

      At least you figured it out, Stuart. It says a lot about you that you didn’t just take the safe route and have tried many different things. It sounds like you’ve lived a far more interesting and well-rounded life than most.

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  33. A lovely tribute to your dad, Pete. I like the photos of him with your son.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 13, 2022 — 8:23 am

      Those do my heart good as well. I’m glad there’s visual proof because I don’t always remember being there.

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  34. A wonderful post, Pete such lovely family images and an awesome tribute to your dad and his work…Thank you for the lesson on ferrets and geese…I too have always taught my kids to work hard but try to find a job you love as you are working for such a huge percentage of your life…Your upbringing shines through in your values and works so job well done to your parents… a lovely tribute Pete 🙂 x

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    1. petespringerauthor April 13, 2022 — 8:32 am

      Thank you, Carol. Unsurprisingly, my values are much the same as my parents. We’ve continued the tradition they started by having family reunions every three years.

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      1. Thats lovely to hear, Pete we should uphold family traditions where we can they are important 🙂 x

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  35. Pete, I loved so much learning about your dad! What a fulfilling life he seemed to lead with such a celebrated career! It must’ve been quite a sacrifice also for you, your brothers and mom (as well as your dad) to be moving around often for his job.. that must not have been easy but it sounds like it was able to bring you a unique and diverse perspective on life… Thank you to your dad for his contributions to Canada 😉

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    1. petespringerauthor April 13, 2022 — 1:04 pm

      The only time that was more challenging for me was when we came to California as I started high school. You’re already going through that awkward phase, and not knowing anyone starting at a new school was hard because I wasn’t that confident. I found myself in college and became the person I was meant to be.

      You must get tired of ignorant American stereotypes of Canadians.

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  36. It’s interesting to reflect back on your parents once you are older and more inclined to understand what they did and why they did it. Your father’s passion made him who he was. And isn’t that wonderful for you? Such a lovely tribute here.

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    1. petespringerauthor April 13, 2022 — 1:09 pm

      I always like learning about others. Why are they the person they are? Who were their role models? The backstory is fascinating to me. I think you’re right that being older gives us a different perspective.

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  37. Very nice tribute to your dad, Pete. I enjoyed the ferret video. Cute little buggers. I could see why workers loved their jobs. The Canada Geese are pretty birds but, wow, are they ever plentiful and messy 🙀

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    1. petespringerauthor April 13, 2022 — 3:35 pm

      I enjoy watching anyone passionate about their work, even if I don’t understand the attraction. I can understand why it was such a satisfying career in my dad’s case.

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      1. I thoroughly enjoyed my sales job and the variety of people whom I met. And I lived my crossing guard job, quite a different experience. And it’s obvious that you loved your work, Pete, as your dad loved his. What’s the saying, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’…

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      2. petespringerauthor April 13, 2022 — 8:09 pm

        I enjoyed all of the crossing guard experiences. I’ll bet the kids learned a lot from your encounters as not only were you making their day brighter but teaching them a few things along the way.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks, Pete. I have a crossing guard story that I started awhile back and now you’re motivating me to finish it. By the way, i walked by my old post this morning on my morning walk and there was no crossing guard. Very surprised because it’s a busy spot. Made me a bit angry.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. petespringerauthor April 14, 2022 — 8:29 am

        I often get nostalgic feelings when I drive by my old school. Many are happy thoughts. I see the kids shooting baskets at the four basketball standards that I wrote a grant for and helped put into the ground. That gives me a wonderful feeling. I look a little further, and the two wall balls (allowing for four games on either side) are no longer there. With the help of other colleagues, parents, and even students, I built them three times. There’s only court left (praise to the custodian who made that happen) against a metal shed. That makes me sad because I know how many hours of pleasure the kids got from them.

        Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for doing what you did, Steve. You might have been the best part of the day for some of your more troubled kids. Hopefully, somebody sees the problem of the busy crosswalk and rectifies the situation.

        Like

  38. It strikes me that your dad’s binoculars are an apt metaphor for his life. . . and yours. Always looking forward, yet enjoying the moments.

    We moved to our current home over 5 years ago. Now we live in a wildlife preserve. Each morning I enjoy the ducks using the lake behind our house as a runway for launching and landing. I am trying–slowly–to identify some birdcalls.

    Thanks for paying such a lovely tribute to your dad. Like him, you are paying it forward too. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 13, 2022 — 8:17 pm

      Not so hard to pay it forward when that’s what you’ve been taught your whole life. The bonus is it makes us feel good. When we were all piled into a car as kids, the last thing we wanted to hear was, “I want to stop at this refuge.” It was often hot and dusty, and we didn’t have air conditioning, but we learned to have a healthy respect for animals and our environment. Some of it was bound to wear off on us.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. A wonderful tribute to your dad, Pete. How lucky that he was able to make a living doing what he loved. Interesting video with the ferrets. And what a turnaround for the geese population – thanks to the efforts of your dad and others.

    I’ve read a few books over the past couple of years that take a slightly different spin on “finding a job doing what you love”. The idea is that most of us have no idea whether we will love a particular job, so the suggestion is to try a few different jobs, and give each one adequate time, and see if you end up discovering what you love to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 14, 2022 — 5:05 pm

      That’s an interesting approach. Having dead-end jobs was an excellent incentive for me to get back to school. I guess we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t think about our life going in another direction. You’ll have to give me the inside story how Quincy the Clown came to fruition when we meet up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll be happy to share the inside story 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Pete your dad and childhood honestly sounds amazing. The fact that you’re able to influence your students in a similar direction is noble! Not to mention you clearly have followed in your father’s footsteps due to your love of teaching. Your father having had a hand in conservation issues and doing his part to encourage growth for generations to come also reminds me so much of you and how you do the very same things but with people. Stunning post and a lovely tribute to your amazing father. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 14, 2022 — 10:09 pm

      I loved my job, but like most people, there were days I would come home and collapse after a tough day. My wife was also in education, and she had her share of tough days too. Sometimes we’d commiserate and end up laughing like crazy at the absurdities of the job.

      I don’t ever recall my dad complaining about anything having to do with his job. He loved it that much. I feel like I know you well enough to know that you have the same passion for being outdoors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely! Outdoors and art 💯 but art has done to me what education has done to you. You need a thick skin and it’s easy to get burnt out. I’ve taught others how to shoot and edit, and I’ve taken on clients. I’ve loved it and hated it depending on the day. Writing is similar. Sometimes I re-read things I wrote and feel as if I could have written it a million times better… the only difference is at least for right now I’m mostly writing for myself. Art is so subjective that terrible clientele sucks the life out of it

        Liked by 1 person

  41. My goodness! There is so much here in this post. Your dad was a lover of nature, and you were there with him when he was spotting birds, as was Ryan. What a wonderful photo. Most importantly he lived a life of doing what he loved. He was a role model for you! That is a tremendous thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 16, 2022 — 1:15 pm

      I often blog about role models because they are everything in all areas of our lives. I’m not sure that I would have become a teacher without many of my educational role models. Because I appreciate literacy’s value in our lives, I try to support programs that support it. I know you feel the same as education can level the playing field for the disadvantaged.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well said, Pete. And, your dad was certainly a wonderful role model. So now you have me thinking about my role models and why I got into education. Honestly, it was children and babysitting, not teachers. In retrospect this is sad.
        There was no warm fuzzy teacher, and no teacher who inspired me. Back in the day I had three career choices: Teacher, Nurse, Secretary. There were only a few super smart women who went beyond these three choices. Teaching was a perfect fit for me, and I changed drastically as I grew into this role. You know that story! I must say your words, “Education can level the playing field for the disadvantaged” is absolutely brilliant. Perfect!

        Liked by 1 person

  42. This was a lovely, nostalgic tribute to your dad, Pete. And I enjoyed learning about ferrets and the Aleutian cackling goose.
    I hope you’re enjoying your vacation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor April 18, 2022 — 6:48 pm

      Thanks, Debby. Just a quick trip this time. We flew home today. It was great to spend time with our son and his fiancee. I’ve got a bigger trip planned at the beginning of May to visit each of my three older brothers. I’m also going to meet two blogger friends in person.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. The wildlife around the Arcata waterways is sorely missed. We would watch the blue herons stalk the fields across the road. These days we watch out for squirrels and deer and the occasional cedar waxwing and goldfinch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor June 5, 2022 — 10:34 am

      I still regularly make it out to the Arcata Marsh. It is well maintained, and it makes me happy to see so many people enjoying its beauty.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. What a fascinating and important job your dad had, Pete. And this post is a wonderful tribute to him and his legacy. There is so much of your dad in you, even if it isn’t an interest in birds. I’m sure he was very proud of all you have achieved and will achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor August 28, 2022 — 4:52 am

      I see a lot of my dad in myself because we like to understand why things are the way they are. That’s the scientist in me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Curiosity is a good thing. We need to nurture it forever.

        Liked by 1 person

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