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I spend the entire month of June on a boat watching the sunrise and sunset. I do this because I am leading wildlife photography tours, to capture images of Loons. I am so fortunate to be outside, surrounded by nature for such a sustained amount of time. I see and hear so many cool birds and …

The Great Seal of the United States bears the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “out of the many, one.” In 1776 it championed the union of the separate American colonies, a union severely tested during the War between the States. One may wonder if our union is as close to cracking apar…

Retirement offers a new lifestyle, daily schedule, and rhythm of activities. After two years, I find that I don’t just look, I see more things. I don’t just hear, I listen to more details. I’m discovering new plants, smelling new flowers, trying new recipes, and developing new friendships.

Last week, while leading a wildlife photography workshop to capture images of American black bears (Ursus americanus), we experienced a cuteness overload. Over three and half days, we saw many mother bears with spring cubs.

A couple of weeks ago our small congregation held a potluck lunch. While thinking about what to bring, I decided to bring Helen Swanson’s rice pudding. It’s a food I cherish because it brings back memories of my life as a young rural Wisconsin pastor. I found the recipe that she had written …

I’ve actually been to Uvalde, Texas. It’s a dusty Texas border town located on the edge of the Texas Hill Country. The food and flavor of the town is heavily Hispanic (78% according to the 2020 Census). Border Patrol agents are ubiquitous in the area. They have a famous Opera House and it’s …

The key to “seeing” nature is to stop and look. I know that seems rather obvious but it’s true. The simple act of stopping and looking is really all it takes to start to see more nature. This is something I learned a long time ago, but it seems that I need to stop and remember it every now a…

Most Americans expect their children to have a better life and standard of living than themselves. Whether it was the impoverished parents arriving in Ellis Island, the family who survived the struggles of the Great Depression, or the GIs who were returning home after the horrors of WWII, th…

As we near the close of the 2021-22 school year, I have been reflecting not only on this year, but also on my seven-year career at Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools (PLSAS) that has been filled with meaningful relationships, wonderful accomplishments and complex challenges. Throughout it all, I…

Last summer I was envious of my son, who had a breeding pair of sandhill cranes at his farm in Wisconsin. He sent me pictures of the pair with their gawky colt, but when I went to visit, they were nowhere to be found. I’d never seen one in the wild, so I was disappointed.

I am fascinated by the diversity of mother nature. And this was abundantly clear to me the other day while I sat in a tiny chair blind, in the dark, waiting for the sun to come up and for a ruffed grouse to enter the habitat that lay before me.

Recently while leading a photo tour throughout Florida to photograph birds, it occurred to me how much things have changed. I don’t mean how much things have become worse, or crowded, but rather how much several species have increased in population.

When I think about the war in Ukraine and the humanitarian crises that it has produced in Europe, my heart is heavy. The unprovoked Russian invasion, including the bombing and shelling of cities and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, is a clear example of the presence of evil.

Once again, I found myself sitting outside in my small photo blind trying to capture a handful of images of birds in a winter/snowy setting. The temperatures were a balmy 5 below zero and I was starting to feel the cold penetrate my many layers of clothing.

It was just by chance that I recently found myself at Tumacácori in Arizona. My husband and I were on vacation shopping in Tubac, a cute artist village south of Tucson, but we got bored. Down the highway was the only other touristy thing around — Tumacácori.

Having just returned from three weeks in Yellowstone leading photo tours and workshops, I am tempted to write more about the several encounters I had with the large charismatic predator, the gray wolf. However, this time I think I will write about a small, rather un-charismatic predator. A p…

I genuinely believe that every single person has the capacity to change the world for better or for worse. We live in a time where so many Americans are hurting in many ways with the pandemic crisis, increased competition for jobs and economic security, and the pressure to simply survive is …

I have been happily retired for almost a year. I was a pediatric nurse for over 43 years — the last four or five spent supporting nurses with documentation and computer issues. I was sure that I would be back in a few months working in some kind of capacity. However, life had other plans for me.

During one of the longer dark nights this winter while watching television, I came across an interview with a well-known criminal defense attorney. It caught my attention, as I recognized her name from one or two famous trials that made news over the years. I listened as familiar questions g…

Last week I worked at an apartment building in a poorer section of town. The building was a two-story brick building with 37 apartments. While I was there, I saw all kinds of people moving in and out of the building. Many of them stopped on the front steps to share a cigarette, some walked a…

I’m not sure how long I had lived in Scott County before I discovered the Household Hazardous Waste Facility located on Highway 282 between Prior Lake and Jordan. Once I did, the facility became a destination. You would not think that a place that recycles hazardous waste would bring as much…

The complexity of nature is often hard to understand and even harder to witness. Sure, we learn about it in school, read about it in a book, or watch it on a TV nature documentary, but it isn’t until you see it firsthand that you start to understand and appreciate the complexity of nature. I…

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