As a farm kid, I loved to play in the creeks, pastures, and woods on the southern Iowa where I grew up. That led to a career exploring the state for more than half a century, both as outdoor writer/photographer for the Des Moines Register for 25 years, and as a freelance nature writer, photographer, and lecturer.
I’ve written or co-authored five books, and my work has appeared in numerous conservation magazines, earning awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America and from conservation groups. Although semi-retired, I remain a freelance journalist and continue to publish columns with the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative. Through the Humanities Iowa speakers bureau, my programs focus on environmental issues. Volunteer time includes the Clayton County Conservation Board and the Motor Mill Foundation.
Recalling those farm roots, I now lament how the industrialization of agriculture has impacted Iowa’s environment. That’s pushed me to become an activist for sustainable, regenerative farming. I’ve observed, researched, written about, and spoken out on the unintended consequences of livestock confinements and large-scale animal facilities, and on the problems created by annual, monoculture row crops.
My wife, Margaret, and I help manage a small family farm in Tama County, where we’ve restored wetlands, protected floodplain woodlands, and installed prairie strips and pollinator habitat. We also maintain forests and prairies on our own farm along the Turkey River near Elkader. We have an adult son and daughter, and four grandchildren who share our love of the outdoors.