The following is a selected list of some of my freelance writing articles. If you would like to see a PDF copy of any of the articles, just ask!
Preserving Rockcastle’s Great Saltpetre Cave
Walking through spacious passages of solid rock, you feel like you’re in another world. Soft light illuminates the winding cave passage. Water droplets gently fall, punctuating the silence. As the tour guide leads you into the depths of Great Saltpetre Cave, you’ll experience the thrill of a whole new world under the surface of Kentucky. This article for Kentucky Living introduces readers to a new nonprofit organization that purchased Great Saltpetre Cave. (PDF)
2,000 word article for Pet Age magazine describing the plight of turtles around the world: With beautiful shells, fascinating behavior, and long life spans, turtles and tortoises are wonderful pets. But they’re in trouble. All over the world, turtles and tortoises are disappearing from the wild. Many are at risk of extinction. Rick Hudson of the Turtle Survival Alliance says that there are many reasons why turtles are in trouble, but one part of the problem is the popularity of pet turtles. Hudson says that each year, millions of turtles and tortoises are taken out of the wild and end up in pet stores. “It’s a double edged sword,” says Hudson. “Many times people who really love turtles and want to help them are contributing to the problem because they’re buying a turtle that’s taken out of the wild when they could instead buy a turtle bred in captivity.” PDF
Common questions and answers about bats for Fine Gardening Magazine. Here is the PDF link to the article.
Keeping Live Foods Alive
1,700 word article for the Pet Age magazine’s Hands On column outlining how to raise and sell feeder insects: If you sell reptiles in your pet store, are you also selling feeder insects? If you do, are you getting the most out of them? Bugs that are tasty and crunchy treats for reptiles are often an afterthought in many pet stores, even though they’re great investments. But to make these tiny critters work for you, first make sure you know how to properly care for each type of insect you sell, be aware of common care and feeding mistakes many store owners make, and understand that insects can play a much bigger role in your business than you might think. PDF
Interview with an invasive species expert for E! magazine covering common questions and answers about invasive species. PDF File.
Counting Bats the Hard Way
We peered down into the gigantic sinkhole, tied our rope to a tree, and rappelled 25 feet to a rocky landing. Then we secured another rope to two metal bolts at the edge of a 97-foot pit, crept over the ledge, and descended into the cold darkness. Then the going got tough.
Keeping Algae Under Control
1,700 word article for the Pet Age magazine’s Shelf Life column outlining how to keep aquarium algae under control: Algae is a normal part of every aquarium, but algae that grows out of control can quickly turn a beautiful aquarium into a maintenance nightmare. However, if you help customers understand the basics of algae control, they’ll be able to enjoy crystal clear tanks and healthy animals–with a minimal amount of work. PDF
1,700 word article for the Pet Age magazine’s Hands On column outlining how to effectively market and sell aquarium filters to new hobbyists: Customers who are brand new to aquariums are often confused by the wide variety of filters, filter media, and the range of filter accessories. How do you help someone brand new to the hobby, or a relatively inexperienced customer, pick out a filtration system that will be a perfect fit—without totally overloading them with too much technical information?
Making Great Reef Aquascapes
1,700 word article for the Pet Age magazine “Hands On” column outlining tips pet store owners can use to help customers invest in aquascaping products: Do some of your customers think that marine aquascaping simply means sticking a couple pieces of coral in their aquarium? Marine aquascaping is a rewarding hobby, but some people seem to have a hard time setting up aquascapes that benefit their fish and look good, too. With a little help from you, though, they’ll have more fun with the hobby and buy more of your products.
New, Improved Pond Products
1,700 word article for the Pet Age magazine’s Shelf Life column outlining new and improved products for pond hobbyists: These days, everyone is looking for great deals, easy-to-use products and lots of green options. That includes pond enthusiasts.
Reverse Osmosis 101
1,700 word article that describes the basics of reverse osmosis filtration systems for home aquariums: Reserve osmosis (RO) filtration systems remove almost all impurities from tapwater, such as chlorine, heavy metals, and other contaminants that wreak havoc on sensitive aquarium species. RO systems create wonderfully pure water, which aquarium owners can then customize to create the perfect aquatic environment for their particular interests.
Erosion Control– Inlet and Storm Drain Protection
3,600 word article describing inlet protection options. Ensuring that debris and pollutants don’t enter inlets and storm drains has become an important issue since the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II went into effect in 2003. “Erosion and sediment control is like making a good Dagwood sandwich,” says Paul Bucich of the City of Federal Way, WA. “You have to have all the pieces to make it truly effective.”
Erosion Control– Sediment Challenges on Constructions Sites
3,600 word article for Erosion Control magazine describing construction site challenges in light of NPDES rules: Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) went into effect in March 2003, causing professionals around the country to scramble to figure out how to meet the new regulations. Efforts to comply are quite different around the country, with various types of projects requiring different approaches to control erosion and sediment. Some parts of the country, with strict enforcement of the Phase II requirements, quickly have developed effective techniques to reduce onsite erosion and sedimentation. Other areas still are feeling their way through the new network of regulations.
The Rockcastle Karst Conservancy Now Owns Great Saltpetre Cave
The Rockcastle Karst Conservancy, a group dedicated to preserving caves and karst in the Rockcastle region of Kentucky, is pleased to announce the acquisition of their first property, the 305-acre Great Saltpetre Preserve. The preserve features the Great Saltpetre Cave, a cave with a long and fascinating history.
Cloudy Water Solutions
1,700 word article that describes how to get rid of cloudy water in aquariums: When customers gaze into your aquarium displays, you want them to see water that sparkles. Furthermore, you want to help them keep their home aquariums just as clear. It’s easy to prevent or rectify cloud water as long as you understand the different products that are available to make tanks look great, reduce maintenance costs and keep customers enthusiastic about the hobby.
1,700 word article that helps pet store owners learn about successfully caring for freshwater invertebrates: With vivid colors, unique shapes and fascinating behavior, freshwater invertebrates are a popular niche with aquarium hobbyists. Although many aquarium enthusiasts think that the idea of keeping shrimp, crayfish, crabs or snails can’t possibly be as interesting as the huge variety of freshwater and saltwater fish, many hobbyists are starting to develop a fondness for the strange little creatures. “Invertebrates add something to a tank with different behavior, a little different variety; they make the tank more like a saltwater aquarium,” says Barry Wisebaum, general manager of SunPet. “There are also more options now, and many colorful species to choose from.”
Basking Options for Herps
1,700 word article that helps pet store owners learn about selling basking solutions for herps: Some of your customers probably think that simply piling up a bunch of rocks in an aquarium provides a perfect basking location for pet reptiles and amphibians. Several new and improved basking products on the market this year will help you convince your customers that purchasing a custom basking product is better for their pet, will make cleaning and maintaining habitats much easier and will help create a beautiful habitat they can enjoy.
I am nestled in between two smooth rocks, listening to complete and total silence. Occasionally the sound of a single water droplet falling into a pool of interrupts the silence. The air is cool and clean, smelling of earth. I turn on the lamp attached to my hardhat, and light explodes into the rock chamber. I look around while the light glints and dances off the crystals clinging to the walls of the room. Delicate stalactites descend from the ceiling like rock chandeliers.