Topics of Interest - Cave of the Mounds

Experienced Educational Content Provider


A Sample Video I Produced

A Post from January 31st of 2017

"Driftless Sanctuary" by John Pahlas

"Driftless Sanctuary" by John Pahlas

It was another fun hour-long photo shoot with John Pahlas. We took his metal hawk, that's part of his "Driftless Sanctuary" piece to nearby Blue Mounds. We quickly hoisted into a tree just at the ever gray skies began to actually open up. It's not often we've seen blue skies these past few weeks. I am really enjoying this collaborative effort. I wonder where else we'll find this hawk over the next few months?

Artistic Collaboration

A Post from May 23rd of 2017

John Pahlas

John Pahlas

Steel Sculptor

It's been a couple of weeks since I've worked with Center Ground Studios. The piece I shot for him back in February will be ​having it's big reveal at the grand opening of our town's Driftless Historium. They also needed a new portrait of him to hang on the wall as part of the display. So, technically it's been 3465 days since I left the Exhibits Department of the Carnegie Museum. That's how long it's taken me to organically get SOMETHING I've created on display in any sort of museum. While I wouldn't trade being the one who stayed home with the kid, I am starting to want to get back to doing more professional work. I guess we'll see how things unfold?

Diorama Artist

One Sample Diorama Project at CMNH

The Bare Necessities

The Bare Necessities

The Bare Necessities. Freja holds still in front of a Kodiak mother and her cubs. They're in a diorama that I worked on many years ago while at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. Creating a diorama wasn't as simple as it might seem. It took a combination of of scenic landscape painters, designers, graphic artists and sculptors working with educators and scientific staff to create fake rocks, plants and dirt in just the right setting. The aim is to completely recreate a specific location's environment. If I took the time to explain how we made, lets say the grasses or leaves on the bushes I'd have to write an article. This photo is of Freja seeing it for the first time while on a trip home in 2014.

Work with Science Staff

A Master Diorama Artist

Ever notice that George Washington statue in Pittsburgh's airport?

Ever notice that George Washington statue in Pittsburgh's airport?

Patrick Martin is who I worked for at the Carnegie when I helped create dioramas. He could recreate just about any natural looking setting using time honored skills. I learned about a lot from him. When he was commissioned to sculpt that statue he tapped me on the shoulder to model. Apparently I was at that time the same size and weight as our first President.

Powdermill Nature Reserve

Multimedia Design

Resigned in 2007 to be a stay at home father.

The Kid

Learn More on My Carnegie Page

Stewart Lake Projects

Bushy Trail isn't so Bushy

Bushy Trail isn't so Bushy

I took a hike through a patch of restored Oak Savannah. It's been a while since I've walked this newer trail located in Stewart County Park. I first walked this path when it was little more than a deer trail cutting through very thick Buckthorn underbrush. You could barely make out the shapes of these oaks. I worked with a neighbor as a volunteer cutting down all the brush and piling it high. We couldn't burn that day so cuttings were stacked until either they eventually rot into the soil or are hauled away or burnt later. Since that time they've cut down and cleared even more, and really improved the path. Though it's now nice and wide I have to admit I sort of miss when it was just a simple foot path. One less traveled.

Dane County Parks Volunteer

Restored Native Oak Savannah

Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area

Pleasant Valley Conservancy State Natural Area

From their site, "The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has given our ecosystem a Global rating of G1, signifying that it is critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity.

Although there are other oak savannas in southern Wisconsin, most are highly degraded. Our oak savanna is unique because it has been restored to its original condition and is managed at a high level."

Local Travel Photographer

Marketing Materials

A Lifelong Relationship with Nature

Ties to the Land

Trail Through the Clouds

Trail Through the Clouds

With an elevation of around 2,700' (835m) the Laurel Summit rises like a wall running North-South. The clouds bunch along the ridge line, shrouding us in mist. The continuous sound of dripping water from the trees into the many standing, tannin stained pools tattoo out a rhythm. The soft, diffused light emphasizes the vibrant greens of the many mosses that cling to the trees and line the trail. They muffle our steps so we can hear the tiniest of birds as they flitter through the damp forest winds.

Capturing Them Alive

  • Red-tailed Hawk

  • White-tailed Deer

  • Pectinatella magnifica

  • Hoverfly

  • Garter Snake

  • Chinese mantis

  • Great Blue Heron

  • Bald Eagle You can learn more about this photo on my Blogger Post.

  • White-tailed deer

  • Muskrat

  • Green Heron

  • Sandhill Crane


Shea Prairie Preserve

I had a free hour today so I jumped in the Jeep and meandered to the SW of our home. As I wound around through the little valleys I happened upon a large flock of turkeys. There had to have been at least 40 all together. I rolled down my window and was able to snap a couple of shots, though not perfectly sharp I liked this photo. It was at this time I also discovered I was at another isolated pocket of prairie land. This time it was Shea Prairie I'm adding to my list of places to explore in more detail.

Scientific Photography

See a Slug's Life? Gallery is Below

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