During the fall and winter of 2012-2013, Dr. Robert Fuller paddled a canoe alone 1510 miles from the mountains of north Georgia to the Florida coast, along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to Mobile Bay, Alabama, and then upriver on the Mobile, Alabama, Coosa, and Etowah Rivers to return home to Dahlonega. On the downriver portion of the trip, he performed a variety of water quality tests using the Lagrangian sampling technique. Along the way, he learned as much about himself and the people along the river as he did about the river’s water, and in the last few weeks of upriver paddling, he learned a little about perseverance.
Dr. Robert Fuller grew up on the shores of Tampa Bay, Florida, where he spent nearly as much time in and on the water as he did on dry land. He is a former Marine Force Recon, Vietnam veteran. He taught geography, engineering, and mathematics at UNG for 23 years and conducted testing on a variety of streams and reservoirs throughout northern Georgia. He developed UNG’s Water Lab, the Predatory Beetle Lab, and the Environmental Leadership Center. He chaired UNG’s Faculty Senate for four years and held the rank of full professor. During his 2012-2013 sabbatical, he paddled a canoe alone 1510 miles, performing water quality testing from the mountains of north Georgia to the Florida coast and then returning home by paddling back upriver on another river system, a trip that brought him through Alabama by way of Mobile, through Rome, GA, and back to Dahlonega. He is now retired but retains the rank of Professor Emeritus. His wife, Kathy, is a CPA. They have two grown children and four grandchildren.