Robert McClellan

Acceptance Speech for Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer in Residence Appointment

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j_heinerth_newcardOn June 8, 2016 Jill Heinerth was appointed as the first Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Here is an audio link to her acceptance speech which is written below.

Acceptance of the RCGS Appointment as the Inaugural Explorer in Residence

June 8, 2016 on the occasion of World Oceans Day

Delivered at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

by Jill Heinerth

I hit the geography jackpot. I was born in Cooksville, Ontario in 1965 when the world was opening and anything was possible. Generation X they called us, post-boomers, baby busters, latch-key kids. An independent generation that launched with common media experiences like watching man walk on the moon and expanded to ubiquitous media and access to information that was unprecedented.

My parents encouraged me to chase my dreams, and see the world as one global community. We owned a spinning globe, an illustrated atlas and my grandfather’s basement closet full of his lifetime subscription to National Geographic magazine. My Dad loved maps, treasuring his collection of topographics that he would use to plan our family canoe trips. We discussed different cultures and places around the family dinner table, and I grew up knowing that the world was open and our knowledge of it was expanding in every direction.

I was encouraged to participate in Girl Guides, loved weekend hiking on the Bruce Trail and treasured canoe camping experiences above all else. I’m sure my parents cringed when I came home bloodied or muddied. I know they were terrified when I struck out on my own to backpack around Europe. But nothing prepared them for the announcement when I declared that I was selling my advertising and graphics business to forge a creative career in the underwater world.

Today my business card title reads “Explorer.” It is the best descriptive “handle” I can find for my work.

Now you might wonder what place a cave diver has taking on this new role as Explorer in Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society? I spend my time swimming through dark places that few people will ever see or comprehend. I  swim through the veins of Mother Earth, within the lifeblood of the planet. In the pulsing vitality of your drinking water, I explore corridors filled with the very source of life. Water is the nourishment for mankind, the animal kingdom and agriculture that feed us all. I swim in the beginning of the pipe, where water wells up from the ground to serve as the source for creeks and rivers that reach estuaries that act as nursery grounds for the inhabitants of our oceans… the oceans that fulfill their role as the oxygen generating lungs of our planet.

Much of my work takes place in this hidden geography of the planet… I swim through the world’s secret places inside aquifer caves, descending deep on ocean walls, exploring beneath Arctic ice and into historic shipwrecks. Through these adventures, I hope to connect people to their water resources and make this hidden geography a little less abstract.

There is no doubt that water is the defining issue of my generation. When oceans acidify, ecosystems collapse. When community water supplies dry up, unrest follows. When resources are despoiled by individuals or industry, we all lose. Water rich nations can thrive if they manage and protect their most precious asset.

Canada’s hidden geography includes over 200,000 kilometers of coastline, more than any other country in the world. 8 percent of our territory is covered by lakes – more lake area than any other country in the world. We possess 9 per cent of the world’s renewable fresh water, yet only half a percent of the global population. And according to a Nanos Policy Opinions Poll, 62 percent of Canadians regard fresh water as the country’s most important natural resource; even over oil, gas and forestry. A Circle of Blue commissioned global study found that for two-thirds of us, key issues include water pollution and the lack of safe drinking water.

The health of Canadians is significantly affected by accessibility to clean, safe water. Each year 90,000 Canadians fall ill from waterborne pathogens and 90 people die according to Environment Canada. As many as 75% of water systems on First Nations reserve communities have significant threats to the quality and quantity of drinking water. In the past several years, 25 per cent of Canadian municipalities have experienced periodic water shortages. People do not know where their water comes from or how they can better protect it. Many of us don’t realize how we are unintentionally over-using water in our daily activities and choices.

Our waterways offer commercial and recreational fishing, tourism and recreation. Our abundant reserves support the production of goods. Water irrigates our crops and bolsters the food and beverage industry. Flood control, drought mitigation, environmental purification and reserves for biodiversity; we ask a lot of our hidden geography.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has never had an Explorer in Residence. In fact, we’re still trying to figure out what my role will entail and how we can fund some of these new initiatives. But I am a persistent dreamer who believes that once you set a plan in motion, anything is possible. My life is testament to that fact. And so I am aiming for two key goals.

First, I want to reach deep into the educational system to inspire young people to explore…. both in person and through modern online outreach opportunities. I want today’s youth to understand that the world is at their fingertips through a connected global community. I want young people to recognize that they can make bold moves creating new careers and initiatives to solve emerging problems that are important to them. I want them to know that anything is made possible through diligence and teamwork.

Secondly, I want to share my adventures to help nurture a better connection between Canadians and their water resources. I want us all to celebrate and protect the summer arrival of humpback whales feeding on swarms of capelin in Newfoundland. I want to inspire parents to take their kids to Lake Winnipeg to play, so they will want to keep safe the vast watershed it serves. I want our citizens to learn from our First Nations fore-bearers about how to live in better harmony with our natural resources. I want to help my fellow Canadians understand that everything we do to the surface of our land will be returned to us to drink. I want to us to fully embrace how water flows into and out of our lives.

For me this appointment fulfills a life dream. The dream of a little girl who was told that nothing was impossible. The dream of a young Girl Guide who was taught how to live in balance with her world. The dream of a woman who discovered that doing what you love nets far greater gains than can be measured by a paycheck.

I may travel the world for much of my work, but I am a proud Canadian who recognizes that our fate and fortune of geography offers us a unique place in this world. When the world finds itself in conflict, people often turn to Canada… a stable, fair, responsible player on the world stage. En tant que Canadiens, nous avons la possibilité de diriger le monde par notre exemple. Nous pouvons vivre en paix et en harmonie avec notre planète de l’eau. As Canadians we have an opportunity to lead the world by our example. That we can live in peace and harmony with our water planet. Thank you for entrusting me with this humbling and exciting new role for the years ahead.

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World Ocean’s Day Presentation

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RCGScoverPlease join me for a special event on World Ocean’s Day, June 8 at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, Canada. At 7pm, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society will be making a very special and historic announcement followed by my talk. I’ll be sharing thoughts about exploration, science and the RCGS Expedition of the Year to Bell Island, Newfoundland.

Robert Joins the Klen and Sobr Team for a Special Podcast

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Robert McClellan joins Chris, Matt and Jeff from to discuss modern recovery, human connections and booting maple syrup.



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Amazon FBA book released on Kindle

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7StepsAmazonFBAAVATARRobert McClellan has released a new Kindle book to help people interested in getting into private labeling on Amazon. 7 Basics Steps to Amazon FBA Private Label Success  is a great overview of the process to create your own private label, white labeled products to sell using the Fulfilled By Amazon, (FBA) method on Amazon. This is a great resource for beginners or a refresher for sellers with some knowledge of FBA sales. In very plain language, you are taken through the steps to set up accounts, source, list, package, and ship your unique private labeled products on one of the world’s largest marketplaces. Using his own experience with private labeling a product, Robert McClellan, an Amazon FBA professional seller, walks you through the actions needed to successfully become a Private Label FBA Seller. Easy to read, in everyday language, with helpful illustrations.

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Boom Baby Boom Earns 5-Stars from Readers’ Favorite

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Reviewed By Marnie Wilson for Readers’ Favorite5star-flat-web

Boom Baby Boom, A Baby Boomer’s Tales of Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll and Recovery by Robert McClellan is, as the title implies, a collection of intimate stories by an American born during the baby boom generation. As the author states in the Interview section at the back of the book: “…for whatever reason, I have been gifted with a remarkably interesting life. I have an inner drive to tell stories and share experiences with people.” This book is a no-holds-barred peek into capsules of history from a man’s life as he recounts, with no affectations, some of the fortunate, the unfortunate, the ugly, the sad, and the triumphant tales from his life thus far. Some of the topics and time periods touched on in this book include: 1960s-era Catholic School; President Kennedy’s assassination; the War in Vietnam; U.S. Military – to serve or not to serve; Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll; Hippies; Turning On and Dropping Out; AA Meetings; Recovery from Addiction; Vietnam Veterans failed by our American Government and People; Multiple Divorces; and 9/11.

This collection of essays is exactly what I would envision and hope for coming from a man born into the latter part of the American baby boom generation. While there is so much we already know about the time period that Robert McClellan lived through, he shares intriguing insights about his personal behavior, morals – or lack thereof – failures and accomplishments in an unassuming, transparent and sometimes self deprecating tone. He spins yarns about living through these annals of time, drilling down to the tender core of his heart in a way we rarely get to hear about from other male writers. Although there are any number of well-known, prolific, and all-too-often egomaniacal, blustering male writers who hail from the same era, Robert McClellan offers a fresh, new and unpretentious voice in American publishing, breaking above much of the self-important noise of too many baby boom authors.

Robert McClellan writes beautifully, even as he changes his tone from essay to essay. At times he writes with extreme brevity. Other essays weave tangled, lengthy tales. Every once in a while, his article is laced with profanity. But now and again he waxes poetic and elegant. It is all very real, and it works together to engage the reader. Before his rugged, red-haired Scottish father passed away, he gave Robert three important pieces of advice. One of these involved the appreciation of written words and the stories they tell. In spite of growing up in a blue-collar area of Philadelphia, surrounded primarily by Irish immigrant families, Mr. McClellan discovered he descends from a long line of Scottish story tellers. He says he can feel the ancestral leaning in his DNA, and based on his ability to write so well, I believe him.

One of the most captivating stories Robert McClellan tells is about the time his father died. Robert was a young man, alone in his room, when he experienced a tangible, ethereal, and yet incomprehensible connection with his dying father. It is a fascinating story, made palpable to the reader by his gifted way with words.

Mr. McClellan shares his version of events on one of the saddest days in American history, 9-11-2001. He was in Montana at the time, far out in a rural area. He learned of the horrors unfolding in New York while sitting in a tiny town’s one and only gas-station-cum-rumor mill, surrounded only by a few leathery old-timers far removed from any big city. I’ve heard many, many recountings of that day by people from all over the world. Robert McClellan provides the most outstanding and heart-wrenching accounts I’ve ever heard from anyone who didn’t happen to be in New York, like I was, on that terrible day. It is a passage worthy of any time capsule of American history.

I loved everything about this book, except that I found it too brief. Fortunately Mr. McClellan has indicated he is already working on the next installation, and I look forward to it.

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Boom Baby Boom Volume One Now Available

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It took Robert McClellan a lifetime of experiences and a decade of introspection to have the courage to launch his first book. BoomCoverFRONT

It is a brutally honest collection of essays and short stories, told in the authentic voice of an American Baby Boomer. With first person experience as a prison nurse, a concert stage manager, a combat photographer, addict and alcoholic, Robert spins tales of sex, drugs, love, life, addiction and recovery. Sure to elicit smiles and tears, BOOM BABY BOOM takes readers through noteworthy episodes of an extraordinary life.

You might leave it on the back of the commode for a daily dose of reality, but you are more likely to pick this book up and never put it down. Full of wisdom, regret and revelation, it is a life full of lessons.

Available on Amazon and Kindle.

FREE for subscribers to Kindle Unlimited for a limited time!

Ebola – A Nurse’s Perspective

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Ebola – A Nurse’s Perspective

by Robert McClellan


Many of you know that I possess a nursing license. I don’t dare say “I’m a Nurse,” because I haven’t touched a patient in nearly five years. However, I have worked in a variety of health care environments, from Cardiac Cath Labs to the ER at Florida State Prison. I know a thing or two about isolation precautions, personal protection equipment and body fluids.Ebola-Nurses1

Perhaps from my experience working at a prison, surrounded by, and treating such a high-risk population as male inmates, I’ve become acutely aware of how easy it is for even the best nurses to get a bit of blood, feces, urine or vomit onto the skin. (I’ve had most of these substances thrown at me by prisoners.)

As I’ve followed the events surrounding the Ebola outbreak in Dallas, Texas, I’ve seen many “so called experts” try to demonstrate and explain the isolation and PPE protocols necessary to treat these patients. Unfortunately, everyone from CDC doctors to the nurses pictured above, has a different idea of the level of precaution that is adequate. If the statements from current nurses at the Dallas hospital (where the unfortunate nurses worked) are true – there was little to no Ebola-specific training or PPE orientation given to the staff who treated Mr. Duncan, the poor man who is apparently “Patient Zero” in the U.S.  (There are two young female nurses who have tested positive for Ebola at the time of this post, and both were caring for Duncan.)

Look at the picture above. The nurse on the left has a mask that is not an adequate barrier to protect from bodily fluids, has an awful lot of exposed skin, and should at least have a face shield. The one on the right, who is in a much higher level PPE configuration, has tied the hood in a big bow – in front. Every time she leans down to start an IV, or do other procedures with her patient, those loose ends will come in contact with the patient’s bodily fluids, and quite likely contaminate the clean/sterile field the nurse was trying to establish.

We can, and must do better for our health care professionals, no matter the cost.

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Boom Baby Boom – Volume One

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I’m so proud to announce that my husband Robert McClellan has released his first book. It has been a real journey of discovery for him. I recall the day almost eight years ago, when he expressed the desire to share his story. The revelations he shares in Boom Baby Boom represent a lifetime of challenge, discovery and hard knocks.

BoomCoverFRONTWe’ve been married for seven years and he has been an incredible asset to Heinerth Productions as a writer, producer and talented audio engineer. We’re both explorers in life, but his unique social perspective was formed on the working class streets of Philadelphia, where sometimes, the most effective way to enforce the social contract was to give a guy a punch in the nose.

As a young man, Robert immersed himself in the vibrant Philly music scene. This led to several great opportunities to work as a concert production manager with some of the most acclaimed musicians of the time. The list of artists includes such well-known acts as U2, Ray Charles, James Brown, Cindy Lauper, Jimmy Cliff, Culture Club, The Four Tops, and dozens more. But, the rock and roll lifestyle, and all its excesses, eventually caught up to him, and Robert fell off the tour bus.

Fortunately, the bus stop happened to be at a Navy Recruiter’s office.

Robert became a U.S. Navy Combat Photographer, including duty with the famed SeaBees. His award winning photography and journalism gained attention, and he was assigned as a instructor at the U.S. Navy Schools of Photography, at NAS, Pensacola, Florida. He collected numerous service awards include the Naval Commendation and Navy Achievement medals. Brief missions in Operation Desert Storm left lasting scars that forever changed his outlook on life. After leaving active duty, and completing nursing school, Robert continued his service to the country in the Army National Guard. He was a Medical Platoon Sergeant with the 1/156th Armor Battalion. An injury ended his service, and today Robert is among the many fortunate veterans who receive excellent care through the VA health system.

Before we met, he continued life’s explorations as a long haul truck driver, concert promoter, music artist manager, afternoon talk radio host, and travel nurse. Those careers were intermingled with several attempts at drug and alcohol rehab and fortunately, Robert found himself sober. And broke.

His only possession, and old motor home, ran out of gas at Navarre Beach, with an Irish Setter and $26 in his pocket. He couldn’t have been happier. He got active in the local recovery community and landed a job as a detox nurse at a prestigious treatment facility. Continuing to grow in sobriety and trying to remain of some service to others, he began working part-time in the medical departments at some of the most notorious prisons in Florida.

robhappyJEH4288Again, growth and life changes came about, and he decided that the Black Hills of South Dakota would be a good place to explore. He became a nurse at the VA medical center in Hot Springs, and also produced music festivals and concerts in Rapid City.  After a few Dakota winters, Robert admitted the error of his ways and transferred to a VA hospital in north Florida.

We met online while I was working on a documentary in the Florida Everglades. Months passed and the email romance blossomed until we finally had a first date at a beautiful North Florida Spring. While he continued nursing at the local VA, we met for bicycle dates and dinner in town, but there was no turning back for either of us.

As Creative Director of Heinerth Productions, Inc., Robert gets to explore his boundaries every day. Whether it is a new documentary film idea or a book project, he embraces the opportunity to create something worthwhile, something that he can be proud of and that will resonate with people around the world. He’s also the customer service and shipping department, and rides his bike 14 miles round trip to our local post office to get our shipments in the mail.

The rest of the story plays out every day as a heart warming romantic comedy, where the planets have aligned and the best is yet to come.

Boom Baby Boom – Volume One is a remarkably candid and brutally honest collection of essays and short stories, told in the authentic voice of an American Baby Boomer. From the rough and tumble streets of North Philadelphia, to the glamorous world of rock concerts and endless lines of cocaine, Robert will carry you along on a journey that winds through his extraordinary life. With first person experience as a prison nurse, a combat photographer and recovering alcoholic, this book is full of interesting anecdotes, with plot twists that will leave you smiling, sometimes through your tears. It still chokes me up to learn of the things he has endured and overcome, but today I am incredibly proud of my husband and best friend!

Available on Amazon now!

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The Colonel

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His long, angular brown face is crowned with a neatly groomed shock of closely cropped white hair. Pinned to the collar of his yellow windbreaker is the eagle device of a full-bird Army colonel. Over his heart is an american flag pin and a miniature silver star medal.

The sofa on which he sits is too low for his height, and his lanky legs with bent knees are splayed outward in front of him. Cream colored argyle socks complement his spit shined soft brown oxfords.

In the lobby of the Lake City V.A. Medical Center, sits a huge flat-screened television. Gathered around are dozens of people. Some are medical and janitorial staff, others are patients with canes, wheelchairs and walkers. All are transfixed by the crisp image broadcasting from the steps of the United States capitol to the world.

It is solemnly quiet. The sound of the automatic door sliding open and closed is the only external distraction. All eyes are riveted on the TV.

On the screen is a handsome young African-American man, his right hand raised and his left hand resting on Abraham Lincoln’s personal bible.

The old warrior on the sofa buries his face in his knobby arthritic hands and quietly sobs. He reaches over to me, sitting in the arm chair to his right, takes my hand and cups it is both of his. They feel like weather beaten leather. He squeezes my hand and leans closer.

“Eighty-one years,” he says in a hoarse whisper. “Eighty-one years I fought for this…I prayed for this day”

I clasp his hands firmly, look at him through tearful eyes and we sit there, two veterans weeping.

Mission accomplished, Colonel.

January 20, 2009

12:15 PM

Bullshit and Lies

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“Robert, are you an alcoholic?” Dick asks. His eyes are clear and icy blue. He looks directly at me and I feel powerful pure energy shooting right to the darkest places in my heart. The honesty of his question catches me off guard. I am accustomed to people beating around the bush about such things. I sit and wonder what is his ulterior motive. I don’t like Dick.

The second counselor, Charlie, picks up the thread of the query, “Do you consider yourself an alcoholic, Robert?”

There is something disconcerting about being in my full dress Navy uniform with all the “I love me”  ribbons and medals festooned on my chest, and being addressed by my first name.

I am shaking.

“Err, um, I don’t know,” I stammer, “I’ve never really thought about it, I guess.”

Which is pure bullshit because I think about it every waking moment, except it usually sounds like: “What the hell is wrong with me?”

“This is a simple question, friend,” says Dick, in a calm voice that sounds like it could have originated in my soul, “are you, Robert, an alcoholic?”

I turn and look at my Master Chief. She stands silently blocking the door, and nods her head once in my direction. I am trying to interpret what it is she wants me to say. I know this moment is important, yet I am paralyzed by fear.

I squirm and look for help in the faces that confront me, saying ” If I knew how to answer that question, I’d probably not have to be here.”

The Captain leans back in his chair, disengaging. He is running out of patience.

“Sir,I  am probably considered an alcoholic, I guess, by some people,” I addressed the Captain.

“I didn’t ask you,Petty Officer McClellan,” the Skipper said, leaning forward and pointing across the room, “I believe these gentlemen did.”

Worrying , heart pounding in my chest, I knew I was out of options. I reeled him back in, but now he’s tossed it back to the cold, calculating counselor, who already knows the answer to his own question.

“Okay, I am an alcoholic!” I blurt out.

“I am an alcoholic and probably a drug addict and a shit load of other things too,” I loudly confessed.

Suddenly, the tension disappeared from the room.  It was as if someone had opened a window and all the bullshit and lies of a lifetime were sucked outside.