But finally I’ve turned the corner on a “new and improved” version of Go Hydrology. Or maybe it’s the same old blog? In fact, fully embracing the “blog” element of my work was a major breakthrough event. I’d previously short of shunned the term, and in that spirit tried to turn it into more of a static website. Then came the meteor strike of the Nature Folk Movement (NFM). It not only expanded my repertoire of topics, it made me think very hard (and allowed me to experiment) on the structure of Go Hydrology. The result? The blog is now front and center with the caveat that behind it working in the background is a powerful and easy to navigate database, also known as a Table of Contents (TOC).
What exactly is the NFM? It’s a return to nature and the simplicity of its cycles, and most of all rethinking and recapturing the old traditions and values we used to adhere to prior to getting consumed in our smart phones. And thus the humble goal of Go Hydrology and the Nature Folk Movement (NFM): To connect people with the water cycle and the way we did things in that mysterious geologic epoch called Before Phones. Oh, and BTW: Beware of the Boogie Phone!
Find out more about Go Hydrology 2.0 in this podcast.
In the Everglades, the same applies to the rocks, but with a twist: Even when people notice them they are just as quickly ignored. The reason? It probably has something to do with all the other sights — wading birds, alligators, flowers … the list goes on. Also factoring in is the flatness of the landscape and the fact that most of the underlying rock is covered with water or a layer of peat. Another knock against Everglades rocks: There are really no scenic outcrops or dramatic geologic outlooks.
I’m not saying you have to forget that other stuff, but we can’t forget that the underlying limestone forms the foundation of it all. And rocks, believe it or not, are a lot more charismatic than you think.
And if you don’t believe me, watch the above video and listen to what “Rock E” has to say. I think you’ll be impressed.
It’s about simplifying and getting in tune with nature.
And you can’t have a Nature Folk Movement (NFM) without a guitar by a campfire. That’s just obvious. And it also requires other chipping in. Individually we can get back with nature until the cows come home, but it takes others to really make the grassroots and growing movement we aspire it to be. Who are those groups?
Short list of groups and activities we support:
(1) Attend a Campfire Talk (at CampfirePark.Org)
Sick of the rat race? How about kicking back around the campfire to hear a campfire talk. The campfire is the place we gather to reconnect with nature and talk about what is essential in life. We think you’ll enjoy this modern-day reboot of the ancient tradition.
(2) Ride the Water Cycle (at GoHydrology.Org)
There’s no better way to get back in touch with nature than by tuning in with the water cycle. Whether it’s a recent shift in the skies or a new water flow pattern in the deep swamp, Go Hydrology is your passport into the innerworkings of the water cycle.
(3) Hear a Campfire Shanty (at BobbyAngel.Org)
Are you bored of “reading” about conservation topics? Well how about listening to a campfire shanty that explores the topic at a whole new level. Bobby Angel is a balladeer whose growing archive of songs and albums helped inspire the Nature Folk Movement (NFM).
(4) Rediscover your Bookshelf (at ReReadable.Org)
Over a decade after the invention of the smartphone, the bookshelf has been cast away on the dust heap like so much else. No longer. Rereadble resuscitates the old (and new) books on our bookshelf back to life, and ponders out loud what being rereadable is all about.
(5) Journey Back to Before Phones (BP) (at BeforePhones.Org)
Granted, it was a bizarre time, but believe it or not people once survived (even thrived) in the pre-phone era, also known as the Great Phonelessness. Join the researchers at Before Phones as they uncover the latest archeological finds about this cryptic historical period.
(6) Get into Good Penmanshape (at Penmanshape.Org)
Sick of “thumbing” everything you write? And let’s face it, using a keyboard may be writing, true – but it’s also keeping you in front of a screen. There’s no better workout for the hands and the mind than sitting down with a blank piece of paper and a killivine (that’s just a fancy word for a pen!)
Now for a short list of groups we do not support. And folks, I cannot impress upon you enough — STEER CLEAR OF THE BOOGIE PHONE!
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.