Naturalist Steven Joel Mueller, of Cedar Springs (better known to readers as Ranger Steve), was added to the Grand Rapids Camera Club Hall of Fame last Wednesday, February 20.
Ranger Steve joined the Grand Rapids Camera Club (GRCC) in 1979, moved out of state and rejoined in 1986.
He is a butterfly, nature and wilderness photographer, and a consummate naturalist with an endless fascination for the environment. The career of “Ranger Steve” Mueller has crossed over six decades, since his start in the 1960s as a Michigan State Parks Ranger. He has served in the National Park Service as a high school and college biology instructor, and chief naturalist at three different nature centers. Ranger Steve has authored over 100 articles related to nature and interpretation through Michigan Audubon and local newspapers. His photographic work has been published in national publications such as Sierra Magazine, high school text books, and Beautyway Post Cards.
The canyon country of southern Utah is his favorite place, Water Canyon Falls in Bryce Canyon National Park being close to his heart since exchanging wedding vows with wife Karen there in 1977. He has presented a photographic program titled “Wilderness-Unique Treasure,” in an effort to gain wilderness protection for the region, and he discovered a new moth species, “Brilliant Virgin Tiger Moth,” in the same spot 28 years later.
Ranger Steve was recently named Outstanding Senior Interpreter, by the National Association of Interpreters (NAI). He is one of the original members of the Utah Lepidopterists’ Society, and recipient of the William B Stapp Award for environmental education. The NAI awarded Ranger Steve the 2010 Distinguished Interpreter Award, the highest award they bestow.
Ranger Steve always finds time from his travels, and educating on the environment to share his photo skills with the Grand Rapids Camera Club. He has served two terms as President and until most recently as club Historian/Archivist. He has been a competition judge and served on countless committees. Ranger Steve was the instructor for the “Nature Photography Guided Practice Workshop,” and has conducted field trips looking for butterflies, moths, bugs, and wildflowers in their natural environment. In 2001 he sent a slide presentation of GRCC member works to the Pennant Hills Photographic Club in Sydney, Australia for their exchange of works program. Ranger Steve continues to compete at both GRCC and Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs (SWMCCC), most often showing his love of nature and of course butterflies.
This month Ranger Steve has been writing our articles for natural birdfeeding month.