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Skipper Rico

Ric Catron has been a Wanna-Be-Adventurer since age 5 when he first learned to sing and dance the Hukilau from Miss Bush, his Mormon kindergarten teacher. At age 8 he made his first visit to Disneyland. To this date, the Jungle Cruise STILL remains his favorite Disney attraction of any Disney theme park world-wide. At age 11, a full-page ad in Sunset Magazine peaked his interest in visiting New Zealand's Milford Sound. He vowed he would travel there someday. At age 20, he moved to Hawaii. Once there, the door would never close and just like Dorothy in Oz, he left his sepia world behind him.

"You can take the Boy from the Islands, but you can't take the Islands away from the Boy." 50 years ago he studied tropical botany and horticulture on Kauai, Hawaii at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. This led to a career in botanical garden management, working in tropical gardens in Florida, California and Costa Rica, and serving as a Botanical Collector and Buyer for the San Antonio Botanical Garden. He is the Indiana Jones of Tropical Botany! over the years he's been to the Galapagos, Machu Pichu, the Amazon, and the oldest rainforest in the world - the Daintree National Park in Australia. After 10 years he was tapped to teach college horticulture classes and would teach part-time for 20 years in California and Oregon, Including Mt. Hood Community College here in Gresham.

Concurrently Ric transitioned into landscape architecture and city planning, working 30+ years full time as a Park Planner in Southern California, including 14 years in Gresham, and 7 years for Kitsap County, Washington. He retired in September 2019 and began traveling in February 2020 - right before COVID hit. "Stuck" in New Zealand for 22 months, while there he explored the entire country. After 8 months back in the States he returned "home" to the Southern Hemisphere visiting Fiji, returning to New Zealand then exploring new worlds in the Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Pitcairn Island.

Ric plans to return to Fiji in August 2023 where he'll assist Fiji National Parks updating their Management Plans, then back to New Zealand in September as an Announcer for the Christchurch International Big Band Festival, then up to Norfolk Island in October. He has no plans to settle down anytime soon as there is a whole Pacific Ocean out there to explore - and many more adventures yet to be discovered. "This is home. This is where I belong".