I have been a life-long student of nature, and have been particularly interested in insects for as long as I can remember. I have also enjoyed watching birds since my teens. I grew up in the rural landscape of western Monroe County, Indiana, near Ellettsville. My favorite activity was wandering the nearby fields and forests, searching for insects, plants, and birds. I began drawing and painting birds in my teens, and eventually graduated from the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. I worked as the exhibit builder at the McCormick’s Creek State Park Nature Center, as the Assistant Coordinator of Special Exhibits at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History, and since 1992 as Assistant to the Editor and Circulation Manager at Insurance Forum, Inc. Since the mid-1990s my primary artistic expression has been through photography, primarily of butterflies. My extensive field work and artistic background eventually led to the production of my book, Butterflies of Indiana: A Field Guide, which I wrote, designed, and illustrated with my photographs. It was published by the Indiana University Press in November, 2012. The book garnered many positive reviews and accolades, including the 2013 National Outdoor Book Award for best Nature Guidebook. In response to the book, I am often invited to give programs about butterfly identification and related topics.
My wife Sandy, who occasionally writes a guest post on this blog, has also been a life-long student of nature. She grew up in eastern Monroe County, near Bloomington. She also passionately explored her natural surroundings, and was particularly fascinated by ponds and their frog and turtle inhabitants. She also enjoyed painting and drawing what she found, and graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Since the mid-1980s she has been an environmental educator, first as a seasonal naturalist at McCormick’s Creek State Park, and now as Assistant Naturalist for Monroe County Parks and Recreation. Sandy is also an Indiana Master Gardener, a facilitator and instructor for ProjectWILD, FlyingWILD, Hoosier Riverwatch, and other environmental education programs, writes regularly for The Herald Times, and is the chief coordinator of Bug Fest, Bloomington’s annual one-day immersion in the world of insects. She often conducts programs for schools and the public about Monarchs and other butterflies, landscaping for pollinators, insects, fossils, and many other topics.
We live in western Monroe County, near Bloomington, Indiana, with our son Alan.