Ben Goldfarb talks with his hands almost as much as with the words emanating from his expressive mouth. Enthusiasm comes in many forms, and while his animated gestures and beaver-themed hat are a giveaway, Ben’s excited, curiosity-inspired storytelling about beavers in his latest book, Eager, is as infectious as his goofy laugh. When challenged to write the next beaver Bible, Ben, only a few years out of graduate school at Yale School of Forestry and still dressing like an Amherst undergrad, tracked down the most fascinating characters needed to tell and enrich the esoteric story of beavers and their ecological and political significance.
I’m not sure whether it’s because he reminds me of my brother or the fact that he remembered my name after I spoke it only once during our group introductions, but Ben feels familiar. As a journalist for High Country News and a recently published author, he naturally wants to know all about you, but goes about doing so with an ease and facility in conversation that reminds one of catching up with an old friend.
Sitting beneath ponderosas of the Methow, among 21 students hoping to one day be half as eloquent as he, Ben probably had no idea that he has humbly become one of the very individuals -- passionate, unique, obsessive, smart -- that he respects as the stars of his own stories.
By Nina Moore
Photos by Abby Hill