As OWAA celebrates its 90th birthday in 2017, we are honoring our talented current members and their ongoing excellence in outdoor communications in our new “Member Spotlight Monday” feature. Today, we introduce Ruth Hoyt:
- Where were you born?
I was born in Troy, NY, while my dad was an electronics engineering student at RPI (Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute). We moved to Missouri when I was four, so my growing-up years were in the Midwest.
- Where do you call home now?
I live in my 80-foot mobile home on 45 acres owned by friends in remote ranch country in Linn, TX. It’s 25 miles either south or east to the nearest grocery store!
- What’s your nickname?
The name “Ruth” is so short, there’s really no short nickname. Occasionally someone will call me Ruthie.
- What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
My favorite outdoor activity is nature photography but I enjoy doing almost anything outside.
- What is your profession/connection with outdoors communications?
My entire life is spent communicating about and connecting with the outdoors. I write, photograph, teach kids and adults, guide photographers, do public speaking and consult with landowners.
- Why did you choose to become an outdoor communicator?
The outdoors chose me; I use my communications skills and experience to connect others with nature and the outdoors world.
- What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
John (Pickles) and I won first grand prize of the 2007 “Wildlife In Focus” photo contest. It was the first time we teamed together to compete. In the past, we competed against each other and both placed lower in the rankings. Combining our skills was the right strategy to win the tough contest.
- What three words would your friends use to describe you?
Friends’ three words describing me would probably include “talented, service and outdoorsy.”
- What is the best piece of advice you have received as an outdoor communicator?
“Write and talk about what subject(s) you know.”
- When you head for the Great Outdoors, what is the one thing you do not leave home without?
I always have my camera, pixels, batteries, tripod and cell phone with me for “normal” photography, and drone and iPad for aerial work.
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
I don’t buy lottery tickets, but if I somehow won the lottery, not too much would change because I’m not unhappy. I would buy a 65-acre piece of south Texas brush land and build a modest house on it back from the road. The property has been for sale for a long time but priced higher than what most people would pay. I would continue working with kids as I have, but try for more outreach, to connect kids with nature and photography.
- Who do you most admire in your life and why?
I have admired SO many wise people in my life, starting with my parents, who are both gone, but also including teachers, artists, photographers, writers, mentors, students and friends. My dad was an electronics engineer in his career life and also an inventor, mathematician, musician and dreamer. My parents read a lot to my younger sister and me, so we were voracious readers from an early age. My mom was very clever, practical, disciplined, orderly and skilled in cooking, sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, tatting, basket weaving, gardening, yard work and many other activities, so I’ve been fortunate to have received many traits from both sides. My first male school teacher, Mr. Rascher, made a deep impression on me. He had us diagraming sentences in grade school, which I didn’t see again in school for more than three years. Other teachers and folks influenced me through my teen years, but seeing motivational speaker Zig Ziglar live at age 20 made a lasting impression and helped mold the person I eventually became.
- What was the last movie you saw?
The last movie I saw was The Fifth Wave, which I really didn’t enjoy.
- What are your top three favorite books?
My top three books are Zig Ziglar’s “See You at the Top,” Darren Hardy’s “The Compound Effect” and Michael Blake’s “Dances with Wolves.”
- Can you juggle?
I do not juggle well but haven’t tried in many years.
- What is your favorite dessert?
My favorite dessert isn’t available anymore, so I don’t usually have it. My mom made the best pies and cobblers from scratch – peach, apple, cherry, blueberry, rhubarb-strawberry and pumpkin from our yard, mincemeat or lemon meringue… You name it, she could make it and she taught me how to when I was young.
- If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
I haven’t given much thought to being a superhero, but I’d probably choose to be Superman or Spiderman – a crime fighter, in any case.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ten years from now I plan to still be working – the thought of not doing anything doesn’t appeal. If I were to stop working, I would want to mentor youths and spend time traveling.
- What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Zig Ziglar’s writing has been meaningful to me and so many others, I have to share a few of his quotes:
- “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
- “You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.”
- “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”
- “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
- “You are the only person on earth who can use your ability. It’s an awesome responsibility.”
- “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.”
- “The only thing worse than training an employee and having them leave, is to not train them, and have them stay.”
- “I’ve been told I’m so confident I would go after Moby Dick in a rowboat and take tartar sauce with me.”
- What do you like best about OWAA?
What I liked best about OWAA when I became aware of the organization was the sense of community I observed among the members – I still see that and more today, and I could write a piece on the topic. The people and their actions motivate and encourage me to stay the course and continue doing what I do, using the passion I have for the art of photography, writing, teaching and sharing my knowledge with others.
Thank you Ruth for not only your answers, but also for being valued part of “The Voice of the Outdoors!”
If you are an OWAA member and wish to be featured in a future Member Spotlight Monday, send your answers to the above questions and a photograph of yourself enjoying the outdoors (in JPG format sized for the web) to Colleen Miniuk-Sperry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not a member? Check us out at http://www.owaa.org.