June 19, 2016:
Yesterday morning on The Allegheny Front Chuck Tague taught us about bluets in a rebroadcast of his article Field of Innocence, recorded in September 2001. Hours later I learned that Chuck had died the night before from complications of a heart attack he suffered on May 11. He was 71.
Chuck was an avid nature observer, writer, photographer and inspiring teacher. He touched thousands of lives with his love of nature and sense of wonder. His enthusiasm for the outdoors was infectious.
I first met Chuck Tague more than 20 years ago when I attended his birding classes at the Rachel Carson Institute. His welcoming spirit changed my life. I spent more time birding, attended outings, joined the Wissahickon Nature Club and assisted him on the Raccoon Christmas Bird Count. We became friends and I traveled with Chuck and his wife Joan to Presque Isle and Magee Marsh for spring migration and visited them in Florida where they made their home in 2010.
Chuck’s website and Facebook page are always educational and his outings were pure fun. He never limited our curiosity as we examined birds, plants, insects, everything! We always learned something new.
Chuck was an excellent photographer and generous with his time and knowledge. When I began writing this blog he graciously offered his photos. He was always available to answer questions and we collaborated on projects like the Phenology series which we mirrored on his website and mine. This blog would not have been possible without him.
Many of my friends today are people I met on Chuck’s outings. All of us are grieving. It’s hard to believe he’s gone, though he lives on in all of us. His own words in yesterday’s broadcast inspire us as we remember him:
“I picked up the dried bluet stem and examined the tear-shaped seed capsule. There was the life affirming assurance I was seeking. Life will continue. Bluets will return to the field.”
I need to go find some bluets.
(photo of Chuck Tague in 2008 by Bill Parker. Sadly, both Chuck and Bill are gone.)