Of Whales And Belly Flowers, Rebirth And Hope with Robin Kobaly & Doug Thompson

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Masculine and feminine, earth and sea, forest and desert, nature and nurture - the balance of life shows up beautifully and metaphorically in the relationship and the work of Robin Kobaly and Doug Thompson. She is one of the nation's foremost experts on native desert plants; he is a leader in experiential research with marine mammals. Together they've changed the lives of thousands through their wildlife expeditions, native plant seminars, and outreach to developers, heads of corporations and top-level government officials. With the sound of the waves at Laguna Beach in the background, they share stories of their own life-changing experiences with all sorts of creatures from whales to "belly flowers," of the profound transformations they've witnessed in the people touched by their work, and of wild animals who respond to shifting perspectives among humans. As is typical of their dual approach, Doug shares Robin's insight, "I came down here to touch the whales, and the whales touched me." Your hope will be renewed by the pair's assessment of the wide-reaching impact each of us can have when we support the wild plants and animals that will thrive in our backyard, if only we allow it. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Robin Kobaly is Executive Director of SummerTree Institute, which promotes innovative views about our environment, our place in it and responsibility to it; her program Saving the Ancients is dedicated to protecting native plant species. She has served as both United States Bureau of Land Management District Botanist for the California Desert District and Preserve Manager at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. A professional biologist with over twenty years of experience as an interpretive specialist Robin designs and presents award winning events and programs for adults and children. Robin co-founded and helped to develop The Wildlands Conservancy, one of the largest non-profit land conservancies in the United States.

Doug Thompson is Director of Program Development for the SummerTree Institute, a writer, ecologist, and internationally recognized naturalist. Doug has organized and led over one hundred long-range natural history expeditions, from Mexico to New Zealand, hosting some of the world’s most influential leaders and decision makers. As a marine naturalist, he has enjoyed worldwide acclaim as a leader in experiential research with whales, dolphins, and other marine life.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How you can create a "wildlife corridor" to improve your own quality of life as well as that of other animals and native plants
  • What are the nurturing we receive when we nurture wildlife
  • How retaining native plants in your yard can save you money and add texture, color and fun to your life
  • How wild animals discern between humans who mean them harm and those who honor them
  • Why whales may be considered a higher life form than humans
Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 1/17/2004      Program Number: 3030