My name is Bob. I’m a hydrologist who works for the National Park Service at Big Cypress National Preserve in the great state of Florida.
Go Hydrology is a water cycle blog where we illuminate and celebrate the continuously changing and always interesting wetlands, waterways and watersheds of mostly south Florida.
My goal? To help make you feel at home in the water cycle, and also to give you an insider’s view. You won’t find any fancy talk here. Just a lot of charts, diagrams and most of all explanations of data and terms that is both current and reaches decades into the past. I may not know everything about the water, but I know enough to share.
Robert V. Sobczak is a full time poet-philosopher and sometimes hydrologist who specializes in deciphering and celebrating the water cycle of the Big Cypress Swamp where wetlands, coastal waterways, ground water aquifers and drenching downpours from mammoth meteorological events meet. Bob got his start in the water trade at a sinuous riparian run called Deer Creek (a tributary of the Susquehanna River), and in particular the stretch that runs through Rocks State Park and which Bob likes to think of as “The Yellowstone of the Mid Atlantic Piedmont Plateau region of the United States.” In his free time, Bob enjoys the endorphin rush from a good run, writing and performing an original song on his guitar (think: four chords at most and a monotone voice, usually in front of a crowd of ten), and being unable to keep any line of conversation on a linear path, although eventually looping it around.
My name is Robert V Sobczak. I am a long-time National Park Service (NPS) hydrologist and blogger who got my start plotting data and “waxing poetic” (and scientific) about the water cycle in the early 2000s. Some people even say I resemble a water drop.
I am also an author – or rather, co-author – of three full-length novels called the Centennial Campfire Trilogy, including: (1) Legend of Campfire Charlie (2016), (2) Last Stand at Boulder Ridge (2018), and (3) Final Campfire(2020). The trilogy recounts the day-in-a-life of a park ranger. His mission: To make it through an epically long day at the Visitor Center to give a campfire talk at a nearby campground at 7 o’clock. Let’s just say it turns into a bit of a journey starting at the crack of dawn.
Did I mention “accidental” co-author?
Rudi and I never set out to write a book, let alone 3 of them. Our goal much simpler: All we wanted to do was team up to give a 30-minute “campfire talk” to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th Birthday, also called the Centennial. A dozen campfire talks later we decided to try to put the story in a book. One book led to another until 6-years later the 3-book trilogy was finally done.
That major milestone complete, I set out to create an online home for the books. But instead of focusing on the books, I found myself creating Campfire Park – “Home of the Campfire Talk” – and specifically CampfirePark.org. To be clear: These are not your grandfather’s campfire talks, but rather a new take on the venue that blends a little bit of the old with the new — and most importantly brings the campfire talk to your, right in the comfort of your own home.
An unexpected surprise happened while making Campfire Park. And this is where it gets a little crazy, but in a good way. For many years I wrote and performed farewell songs to colleagues leaving Big Cypress Nat’l Preserve, usually for the greener pastures of other parks. Because Rudi and my original campfire talk featured three of those songs – one called Three Jacks, another called One More Melaleuca (for the Road) and another called Higher Moral Ground – it only seemed natural that I include those “campfire shanties” in the the Campfire Park website.
Oh, and by the way: my singer/songwriter alter ego is known locally, in the hallways of where I work – as Bobby Angel. Important caveat: I did not give myself that name. But you know how nicknames are. Sometimes they just stick. And Bobby Angel stuck. And over the years, as the songs piled up, people always (or sometimes) asked: Those songs deserve a home.
To be honest, I never thought about it that much. And sometimes I would go a year without picking up the guitar. But because Bobby Angel songs were featured in our original campfire talks, and because — and here is the really important point — Bobby Angel was featured as a “Bob Dylan-esque” character in 3 books Rudi and I co-wrote, the Bobby Angel website (BobbyAngel.org) naturally took form.
Bobby Angel’s specialty is penning and performing nature-folk/campfire shanties. My first album – New Pangaea – includes 10 nature shanties woven together with interviews on each song and a beguiling epilogue at the end, soon thereafter followed by my second studio work called The Green Album (and loosely modeled off of The Beatles White Album).
To bring this story home, the same creative process that fueled Campfire Park and Bobby Angel website inspired me to bring my Go Hydrology website into the Word Press website building platform. No longer a single website, I was managing multiple websites; but they all seemed connected, too, to a broader overarching concept called the Nature Folk Movement (NFM).
What exactly is the NFM?
In a nutshell, its goal is to reconnect society and individuals with the traditional activities and values that have been taken away, or devalued, by smart phone culture and the internet.
So there you have it,
That’s my story of how Go Hydrology got its start, and how it’s evolved over time. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to subscribe. You’ll get the Weekly Wave newsletter sent straight to your email inbox about the water about once per week.