Photo above taken by Susan Porter Bruce on a hill above Fourth Debsconeag Lake in Maine in July, 2007.
This page is more for family and personal information. See also my professional bio.
I live with my wife Susan in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, where we enjoy a great natural and cultural environment here–hiking in the forests or along beaches, canoeing, observing diverse wildlife, gardening, enjoying arts and music, film, and literate life. We’re active with the conservation trust, the library, and other community organizations.
We participate in local Town Meetings, a climate mobilization group, work on environmental sustainability, and other political activities, but are not nearly active enough for the level that seems needed today.
I am in the midst of several book writing projects and teach in various formats–regular semester courses, short courses, and online. We travel a good amount, including multi-month work projects in Nepal, where I’ve led workshops on progressive education.
Most exciting adventure?
Two weeks before my senior year in high school, I went with an Explorer Post group on a wilderness canoe trip in the Quetico Provincial Park, just north of Minnesota. We paddled all day, carried canoes between the lakes, enjoyed the Aurora Borealis at night, and discussed the big questions of life around the campfire.
Near the end of the planned trip, a sudden storm came up. To escape the waves, we pulled into a cave on the side of the lake. Lightning struck a tree at the top of the cliff, ran down the rock, and shattered our guide’s canoe. He was killed instantly, and two boys were severely injured. If I hadn’t released my hold on the cave rock just before the lightning, all 12 of us might have died.
The tragedy seems fresh in my mind, even today. It was, of course, frightening and sobering. However, the trip as a whole, also held beauty, adventure, and insights about nature, religion, politics, and friendships. It shaped who I am today.
Two years ago, Susan and I retraced that earlier trip, taking much the same route that I had done 53 years before. This time, we did it earlier in the season when there was still ice on the smaller lakes. We had some challenges with wind, cold, and sore muscles, but fortunately we didn’t experience any lightning. I wrote about the two trips in Outpost magazine.
Community and volunteer involvement/hobbies/interests
Susan and I do many outdoor activities, including canoeing, hiking, beachcombing, sailing, and bird watching. We’ve worked on various nature projects, such as counting endangered river herring, CoastSweep, the Food Forest Initiative, and beach plant phenology. I’ve served on the boards of the local library and also the conservation trust, managing its website and making trails.
I enjoy many kinds of music. For many years I’ve found myself somewhere in the broad range of intermediate piano, with special interests in classical, jazz, and country-western music.
We spend a lot time with our children. Emily is an assistant professor of history at the U. of Minnesota, Morris. Stephen is a PhD student in Slavic Languages and literature at Columbia. They’re both deeply engaged in music and community, and give us hope for saving a world we haven’t served so well.
Here’s a personal and family history.