Bob Parrish: Living Library

Bob Parrish headshot from 2021

The One and Only Bob Parrish

To know him is to love him, and to know he loves Warner Parks. As we recently celebrated his 44th anniversary of dedication and service, we take this moment to reflect on the ongoing tenure of the one and only, Bob Parrish. 

Planting Roots

Bob began his career in Warner Parks on February 25, 1977 on the same day as his long-time colleague, Deb Beazley. Bob and Deb led the Youth Conservation Corps summer work crews from 1977-1980. Similar to our current SWEAT Program,  the YCC built hiking trails, trailheads, trail bridges, water bars, signage, etc. They also established many of the Nature Center campus features that still exist  today – the “little pond”, the Reagin Cemetery site, the organic garden, and the wildflower garden, to name a few. So too was their work integral throughout the Parks at large –  naming the trails and writing educational interpretive booklets which we continue to refer to and distribute. 

From Roots to Rise

Bob became the second Warner Park Nature Center Director in 1977 and was instrumental in establishing not only the formal nonprofit status of Friends of Warner Parks but also in forging the public-private partnership between Friends of Warner Parks and Metro Parks. 

Bob moved up through the ranks of Metro Parks after his tenure as WPNC Director and was promoted to Warner Parks Superintendent in 1988, then Natural Resources Superintendent in 2005. He retired from Metro Parks in 2013 when he became a special projects consultant for Friends of Warner Parks.

Still Going Strong

Bob works for FOWP to this day in resource management and as historian, and is affectionately known as the Living Library. With good reason, and with greatest respect. In addition to the Living Library, we may very well know him as our best friend.

Step in Stride

In his honor, in his likeness, show your love for Warner Parks in whatever way you’re able. Make a donation, become a member, volunteer; pick up trash when you see it, plant a native tree, say ‘hello’ to a spring wildflower – or better yet, a bird flying by. Step in stride with the path he laid long ago, and help us #ProtectWarnerParks.

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