In brief, who is Nicholas Brown?
I am 34 years old. I was born and raised in Michigan and spent most of my first 28 years living in the midsized town of Coldwater. I was born just two days before ‘Magic’ Johnson and the Michigan State Spartans beat Larry Bird and his Indiana State Sycamores in the NCAA basketball championship game. In celebration my dad and his best friend pleaded with my mom to rename me ‘Michigan State’ Brown! Needless to say, my mom was neither amused nor accommodating.
I later went on to receive a Bachelors degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Management from Michigan State University in 2003 and got to watch them win another championship in 2000! After graduation I went straight to work for the state of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division for approximately 4 years. Then I went back to school in St. Louis, Missouri at Logan College of Chiropractic where I received a Human Biology Bachelors and a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree. I moved to Terre Haute in January 2011 to take a chiropractic job and pursue my new profession in the healthcare field.
What’s your first memory of being awed by Nature?
The first moment I realized my love of nature occurred at my grandparent’s home in Michigan. We always went to their house for Christmas and I loved to sit in front of their big bay window and watch the beautiful birds and wildlife come to my grandpa’s bird feeders during those cold winter days. Cardinals, Blue jays, Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, Ruffed Grouse, turkey, squirrels, and deer were common visitors.
Are you a member of WVAS mostly because of an interest in birds, a concern for the environment in general, or is it the refreshments after the meetings?
All of the above, of course! I’ve always had just a general love for nature and the outdoors and am certainly interested in all things natural. I am a strong believer and proponent in environmental and wildlife conservation. And yes, I do love to eat delicious treats whenever possible. Honestly though, I mostly joined the WVAS because of my love for birds and bird watching. Joining the WVAS gives me all three though, which is awesome!
What other groups/professional organizations are you involved with?
Over the years I have been involved with or a member of several groups and organizations including: National Audubon Society, St. Louis Audubon Society, Indiana Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Arbor Day Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Quality Deer Management, Ducks Unlimited and more.
Chiropractors deal with skeletons, right? How do bird’s skeletons compare with human’s?
Yes, chiropractors primarily treat issues involving the nervous and musculoskeletal systems of the human body. The only major difference between human and avian bones that I know of is the fact that bird bones are made to be hollow in the middle. This allows them to experience flight while we humans, barring airplanes, are forced to remain bound to the land. Thanks a lot gravity!
As you know, it’s the Year of the River. Do you have any personal river experiences you’d like to share? What’s your impression of the Wabash and the role it plays in Terre Haute?
I have always loved the water and, lucky for me, I was born in a state with lots of it. Michigan is home to 4 of the 5 great lakes providing over 3,000 miles of shoreline. Michigan also sports over 11,000 lakes and over 300 rivers with approximately 36,000 miles of waterway. So obviously, I was exposed to water just about wherever I went. I have many fond memories of rivers, but one that stands out to me is canoeing down the Pere Marquette with my family. It has crystal clear waters and picturesque sandy shores set to a backsplash of mature white pine and oak forests. Its waters run cold and clear all year and is home to everything from trout and beavers to Belted Kingfishers and Bald Eagles. We ate lunches on the shore, jumped into the water from high bluffs, and yes, had occasional laughs at each other when canoes accidentally tipped over.
After moving here I read quite a bit about the history of Terre Haute. One thing that stuck out to me was how important the Wabash River was in Terre Haute’s history of becoming the city it has become today. Although the river is not utilized as much as it once was, without it, it’s safe to say that we would not all be here now, which includes the WVAS, our members, and much of the great wetland habitat, ecology, and wildlife we enjoy and respect.