Fred First holds masters degrees in vertebrate zoology and physical therapy from Alabama universities, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. Since 2002 he has added creative non-fiction writing to his photographic enjoyment of nature and local landform. He maintains a daily photo-blog, Fragments from Floyd, for more than ten years. He has broadcasted some three dozen essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and has contributed regular biweekly columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke’s Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, in our natural diversity, social capital and Appalachian cultures, old and new. His digital nature and landscape photography help tell the stories of our relationship to place, nature and community–pointing toward a planetary ethic that he calls a Personal Ecology. First has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is on the board of SustainFloyd. He is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.