Volunteer Spotlight – Jim Wofford

Posted on February

The South Yuba River Citizens League Board of Directors and Staff would like to sincerely thank all of the tremendous volunteers who help dedicate enormous amounts of time, skills, and enthusiasm to SYRCL’s mission.

Jim Wofford says that in no way is he anti-social, but his default setting is shyness.  As a boy Jim wandered alone among the dry, rattlesnake hills of central, coastal California where bobcats were as common as kittens, where he dipped his fingers into Pacific tidepools among starfish, anenomes and hermit crabs, and he walked without a flashlight under winter, moonless skies when the stars were so clear and brilliant that there was no such thing as darkness at midnight. Jim says that the wildness of nature used to be a lot more dangerous but much, much more beautiful.

Jim is elderly now, and for eight years since he retired, he has been an ardent SYRCL citizen science volunteer. Jim has lived in our Yuba watershed for thirty years which he claims is 46.9 percent of his life so far.  He is a big old guy, bald and bearded, who declares that the best thing about doing SYRCL citizen science is the company of the new and young scientists with whom he is extremely privileged to work with.  Jim says that his bones sometimes ache, and he sweats easily to dehydration, and some SYRCL science jobs get cold and make Jim shiver, but so long as Jim can do, he will do.  Nothing in his life has been better than now, doing SYRCL citizen science, so Jim says.  And nothing pleases him more than the young folk coming up.

Jim takes a lesson which he said that he got from reading Gary Snyder:  no universal truths, spiritualities, moralities nor wisdoms can be in anyway meaningful which are not first grounded in the one place where you live.  You have got to know your place in intimacy before you dare to have a bigger idea. Know the trees, know the birds, frogs and bugs, know the flowing river into which you baptize yourself in skinny dipping pleasure or in deep hopes of redemptive salvation. The big things are actually unknowable otherwise.