Hopkins recounts an incident that was, in his esteem, pivotal: a case of deadly pneumonia that caused a delirium. “As my fever worsened, I left the world of human discourse and listened instead to the pressing voice of the whippoorwill carrying me into a world populated by a red fox who wore a red vest with gold buttons and fancy blue pants. The fox kept me alive with conversations of hemlock forests, clear mountain streams and his stories of the woodlands. His round eyes were dark and knowing…and he assured me of my life. His conversation taught me to listen to the stories of the wind and to respect the talking Earth…These voices from deep within the mountains created a private world for the boy I was, and the man I came to be…Nature can provide us with natural guardians, true kindred spirits.”
Growing up the Catskills helped form his character and his passion for protecting the environment and encouraging the next generation to value it as well. Earning a Bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College, a Master’s degree from Montana State University and a Doctorate from Iowa State University, Hopkins went on the become an educator, living in the Sand Hills of Nebraska and now in Iowa, and continues to teach the importance of young people being grounded in their particular spot of Earth. His environmental ethos is based in those early experiences in and around Glenford, where the deep values of place extended to living an enriched, responsible, creative and authentic life in adulthood. As role models, Hopkins and his wife Jeanette (an award-winning children’s writer) work toward a future in which we can live best in our communities and with the natural world around us. Speaking in schools and at environmental conferences throughout the country, they help people of all ages connect with Nature.
In cooperation with Barner Books of New Paltz, the Mid-Hudson Sierra Group will be presenting an evening with Bruce and Jeanette Hopkins on Wednesday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hudson River Rowing Association’s boathouse at 270 North Water Street in Poughkeepsie. Books will be available for purchase and signing, with the proceeds being donated to the Mid-Hudson Sierra Group.