Favorite ecosystem:

I don’t have a preference for any particular ecosystem, as they’re all unique and have interesting features.  I’ve been living in the California Central Valley for two decades and find this place to be quite inhospitable, with 8 to 9 month dry period, extreme summer heat, and declining winter rainfall. Yet, there are species that pull it off – seemingly against the odds – and I’m grateful to witness these miracles.

Harold and his family

Favorite thing to do when not working:

I enjoy tinkering with my water system (combined rainwater/groundwater), hydro/bio/pee-ponics, biogas digester, and converting biomass with black soldier fly larvae.

Rainwater slow sand filter and storage tanks.

Role model:

I didn’t have any great role models growing up, but at UC Davis I met Dr. George Tchobanoglous.  From Dr. T I learned about the value of perseverance and striving for near-perfection in whatever you are do.

Childhood career ambition:

Engineer, of course!  (hint: they get the best calcualtors)

If he could be a superhero, the superpower he’d like to have:

The ability to protect wilderness from the threats of climate change and human greed.

Origins:

I grew up in a rural trailer park outside of Detroit.  Both sets of my grandparents were farmers and grew all of their own food – but that was all lost with my parents generation.  It was a rough start, but I learned to stand on my own feet and that you can find your own path in life.

Shipping container with strawbale and cob wall.

Pets:

Around our house we care for a large group of free-range cats, dogs, guineas, geese, turkey, chickens, sheep, and toads – but we don’t think of them as pets, more like friends and collaborators.

Guineas eating black soldier fly larvae.

Passions people may not be aware of:

Unfortunately, I have too many passions – plant propogation, metal forging and welding, bioreactors, electronics, natural building, mechanics, to name a few.

Most memorable experiences in nature:

When I was about the age of 8, I remember taking shelter from a tornado in a storm drain – I lost my shoes that day, but this was my first and most important lesson in hydrology.

Favorite food to eat or make:

I’m fascinated by fermentation reactions and thrive on fermented foods.  Some of my favorites include brews, kimchi, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, dosa, chilis.

 

Further Reading

Get to know Senior Restoration Ecologist, Rachel Spadafore
Get to know Julia Richter, Water Resources Engineer
Get to know Restoration Landscape Architect, Sarai Carter
Get to know Water Resources Engineer, Ellie Month
Get to know Jensen Hufnagel, Operations Assistant

More From This Author

Thoughts on Hibernation/Seasonal Slumber
Religion & Environmental Stewardship
COVID-19 Alert: Nature is not cancelled.
A Beach with a View – Rebuilding New Jersey’s Coastal Dunes
A Look at the Degree of Conservation Along the Colorado River: a guest blog post by freelance writer Meika Jensen