Life-long Naturalist, Teacher , Mountain Climber and Artist Speaking at SWOSU

Dr. Donald Rolfs

Some people discover during childhood their life’s true passions and make of them professional careers. Other people are aware of their true passions but decide not to pursuit them professionally, at least for a while.

Dr. Donald Rolfs, native of Yakima, Washington, is a clear example of the second group of people, and he will speak this Wednesday, October 9, at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford as part of the Department of Biological Sciences Seminar Series. The 4 p.m. talk on “Becoming a Naturalist” is open to the public and will be held in Room 212 of the Old Science Building.  Admission is free, and refreshments will be served at 3:45 p.m.

Rolfs is a periodontist by training who maintained his private practice for nearly 20 years. He is also an entrepreneur, writer, photographer, public speaker and lifelong naturalist.  He served for almost a decade as volunteer faculty at the Dental School of the University of Washington. He received a U.S. patent in 1985, and he has published several manuals, a book chapter and articles in the dental field.  For 15 years he made his living as a freelance dental educator, teaching diagnostic and surgical skills in the U.S, Canada and Great Britain.

Since 2005 Rolfs has switched his efforts to his lifelong passion: biology. He has studied and collected insects in Europe, Turkey, Siberia, the Amazon Basin and throughout the U.S. He is an expert on butterflies and bees from Washington State and has already published a field guide for butterflies. He worked as photographic editor for specimen photos for Bob Pyle’s Butterflies of Cascadia, and photographic advisor for Guppy and Shepherd’s Butterflies of British Columbia. He has provided field support for Master and Ph.D. students of entomology from the University of Washington, Florida and Washington State University.  Currently he is working on a field guide for bees.

While at SWOSU, Rolfs will also meet with students. He and Dr. Victor H. Gonzalez Betancourt will be joining efforts to develop a new approach to educate the public about native pollinators during a Bioblitz organized by the Oklahoma Biological Survey.