Today: Jonathan Ringdahl of Galesville, Wis., a certified canoe and kayaking instructor. He also is president of Coulee Region Audubon Society. Ringdahl will present on an Isle Royale lighthouse restoration project and other topics at Midwest Mountaineering’s fall expo Nov. 22-24 in Minneapolis.


I am reading everything I can find about providing kids with autism meaningful nature experiences. Much of what I am doing is modifying, when necessary, nature activities to make them work for kids with autism.

Everyone benefits from nature time. The kids I work with enjoy the same benefits. However, the dots get connected in different ways. That makes it challenging, rewarding and fun. I will put together a shareable resource guide for others to read once I have a good activity collection.


I am following how our planet is changing because of climate change, with an emphasis on what we can do to have a healthier planet. I look for ways to minimize my planetary footprint to maximize helping our earth. For example, I carry reusable silverware and straws with me. I do not buy drinks in single-use plastic bottles. I take glass jars to buy foods in bulk sections. I follow the Better World Shopping Guide because we vote with our dollars daily. Greta Thunberg, one of many young activists, is inspiring. She speaks with conviction for a noble cause.

I follow and am inspired by people’s ingenuity to create ways to help clean up our planet, too. There are ocean plastic cleanup vessels out there working. I saw pictures of nets Australia has put at the end of water drainage pipes to keep plastic out of the ocean.


I am watching TED Talks on leadership and personal development. “The 100 Percent Rule” and “You are Contagious” are my two recent favorites. My “why” is because I want to grow as a leader and increase my positive impact to make the world better.


My car’s radio is tuned to public radio most of the time. It is an interesting time in politics, nationally and internationally. Whether it is impeachment, Brexit or Syria, I want to know what is going on. It helps to get global perspectives on issues.


I have been traveling quite a bit as of late. Half of my recent trips have been to see my nephew. He is a young and upcoming nature-lover who I love with all my heart. He motivates me to work for a better world for him.

As a side benefit while traveling, I have collected some stunning photographs. I have my first photography gallery on display at Wisconsin Conservation Corps in my hometown of La Crosse, Wis. I captured one of my best pictures in August while volunteering with Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society on Isle Royale. The northern lights shined over and around the lighthouse. The picture will be in my presentation on the lighthouse restoration project. The presentation is at 9:15 a.m. Nov. 23 in Hanson Hall (Room 105) at the Midwest Mountaineering’s fall expo.