Russ currently resides in Arlington, Mass. He received his bachelor's degree in land use planning
from Vassar College in 1978, and received a masters in Natural Resources and a law degree from
Ohio State University in 1982. He has been employed by the Riverways Program
(now part of the Division of Ecological Restoration) of the Mass. Department
of Fish and Game since 1988, and has served as its Rivers Advocate since 1992.
Other past employers have included the Nature Conservancy, the Land Trust Alliance,
the Hillside Trust, a land trust in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Mass. Audubon Society.
Russ has received several awards for his rivers work, including an Environmental Achievement Award
from Save the Bay (RI) in 1993, an Environmental Service Award from the Mass. Association of Conservation
Commissions in 1997, the Public Servant of the Year Award from the Environmental League of Massachusetts
(also in 1997), an Environmental Merit Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2003,
and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Massachusetts Wetland Scientists in 2011.
Russ also received a "Heritage Hero" award from the Essex National Heritage Commission in 2006 for his
foraging writing and programs.
Russ is in his 38th year of teaching courses about wild edibles.
Last year, he led over three dozen classes/walks, mostly from May to October,
for over two dozen different organizations, including the Massachusetts
Audubon Society, the New England Wild Flower Society, The Trustees of Reservations and the
Appalachian Mountain Club. These foraging programs were held at various
outdoor locations throughout New England, ranging from two-hour
evening walks in the city and suburbs to lengthier explorations in the mountains
and along the seacoast. During the "off-season",
Russ writes articles on foraging and gives slide presentations featuring
many of his favorite edible wild plants and mushrooms found in New England. Russ' foraging book,
Wild Plants I Have Known...and Eaten (see link below), came out in June of 2004, and
is now in its fourth printing.
Over the years, Russ and his wife Ellen have hosted eight "Harvest Parties" for their friends, for which they prepared
several dozen dishes (appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, desserts, condiments, and hot and cold beverages),
all utilizing wild ingredients they foraged for themselves.
Latest Update: 11/28/11