K. M. (Kat) Allen grew up with a love for art, writing, and the outdoors in the small, northern town of Stephen, Minnesota. She received a B.F.A. from Savannah College of Art & Design and studied fine art in Florence, Italy. A career in marketing and design led Kat to Chicago, and later Milwaukee, before she returned to a rural setting to raise her family and continue working as an artist, author, and illustrator. Kat also enjoys rock collecting, photography, and visiting northeastern Minnesota with all of the outdoor activities that it has to offer. Kat currently lives with her husband and their three children in the wide-open spaces of North Dakota.
Author Lori Peelen lives in California, where she spends her time tending her walnut orchard, vegetable garden, a flock of hens, honeybees, two elderly horses, four stray cats, and two unruly dogs. In addition to writing children’s books, Lori works as a speech therapist, where she is constantly amazed by how kids see the world. Interested in more about Lori Peelen? Check out her blog at www.streamriffs.com.
Sheryl Peterson grew up in a small southern Minnesota town surrounded by cornfields and river bluffs. Now she lives at the other end of the state near the Canadian border. She has been an elementary school teacher and has written 22 non-fiction books for children. Her recent book “The Best Part of a Sauna” originated from sauna fun at her family lake cabin. When she is not writing or reading, Sheryl spends time out in nature skiing, kayaking or swimming.
Julie Buckles lives near Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin with her husband, two children, and a team of huskies. She is the director of communications at Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin and writes for various regional publications. “Paddling to Winter: A Couple’s Wilderness Journey from Lake Superior to Northern Canada” is her first book. It describes a couple’s wilderness journey from Lake Superior to the Canadian north.
Look for her on Instagram @juliebuckles and her website juliebuckles.com, where she posts images and stories of her outdoor adventures.
Anne Stewart is the author of I Saw a Moose Today. A writer and editor, she lives in the woods north of Ely, Minnesota, where she is regularly entertained by the wild critters that pass by her house. She writes mostly for newspapers and periodicals, but has published in an eclectic range of genres that includes a history text for middle school children, business manuals, short stories and poetry. She likes to write about interesting people and places and about the natural world. Her interests include archaeology (she has taken part in several digs), reading, snowshoeing, and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Read more about Anne at http://www.annestewart.info.
Award-winning author and storyteller Kevin Strauss has been using stories to entertain, educate and inspire children and adults for more than a decade. Based in Rochester, Minnesota, Kevin travels across the Midwest to perform at schools, libraries, preschools and community events.
Kevin is the author of Loon and Moon and Other Animal Stories. His other titles include Tales with Tails: storytelling the wonders of the natural world, winner of the prestigious national 2008 Storytelling World Award.
Kevin completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology/Creative Writing at Beloit College in Wisconsin and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Northern Illinois University. He went on to teach at several nature centers, including a stint as Executive Director at the innovative Prairie Ecology Bus Center in Lakefield, Minnesota, where the “center” is a mobile classroom nature center on a bus. In 1998, Kevin decided that rather than being a naturalist who tells stories, he wanted to be a storyteller full-time, and he’s done that ever since.
When not performing, Kevin likes to spend time hiking, canoeing and camping with his family and making up new stories to tell to his daughter. For Kevin, there is no sweeter sound that the words, “Tell me a story.”
Dave Olesen left Minnesota in 1987 and settled in the Northwest Territories of Canada, 170 miles northeast of the city of Yellowknife. There he, his wife Kristen, and their daughters Annika and Liv reside on a remote homestead on the coast of McLeod Bay of Great Slave Lake. Dave, who is also an experienced musher and pilot, is the author of Cold Nights, Fast Trails and North of Reliance, books that grew from his homesteading experiences. A Wonderful Country comes from Dave’s time in Minnesota, when he recorded and transcribed stories from Minnesota-Ontario Canoe Country old-timer Bill Magie. Dave writes, “Fifteen hundred miles and nearly a hundred years now stand between my life and some of the stories collected here, but as I read them from here I am struck again by the essential unity of the North. Beneath a curve of years and miles it is one broad sweep – granite and lakes, wind and snow, spruce and birch, wolf and moose.”
Mary Bevis has lived in cities for much of her life, but she has always spent as much time as possible outdoors observing birds, plants, and insects in empty lots and back yards. She feels fortunate to have been able to retreat to family cabins on a regular basis. Mary is a talented wood carver whose whimsical Scandinavian characters have been featured in many juried art shows. She is the author of Wolf Song, Old Woman Winter and A Bird on My Hand. Mary divides her time between her home in the Twin Cities and her cabin in Ely, Minnesota.
Ray Nargis is an award-winning poet, short story, and non-fiction writer and the author of Almost Tomorrow. He grew up on a horse ranch in Michigan but now calls Ely, Minnesota home. His work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. He received his undergraduate degree in journalism from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in creative writing from Michigan State University. Ray is a founding member of both the Stone Circle and Beach Bards poetry groups. He has performed as an oral poet and storyteller for more than twenty-five years. He divides his time between the rivers and lakes of northern Minnesota, a cabin in Ontario, and visiting his sons in San Francisco and Chicago.
David Mather is the author of Frog in the House, his first book for children. He is also an archaeologist with the Minnesota Historical Society. He often works with sites being considered for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. A specialist in Environmental Archaeology, he is most interested in past relationships between people, animals, plants, and the land. His writing has also appeared in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer and The Minnesota Archaeologist. David lives near the Mississippi River in St. Paul with his wife, daughter, and the occasional froggy visitor.