“Ranger Steve” Mueller, of Cedar Springs, was recently named Outstanding Senior Interpreter, by the National Association of Interpreters.
He was selected from among professional members in 34 countries. The award was presented at the National Association for Interpretation Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 12, 2011.
The career of “Ranger Steve” Mueller has crossed over six different decades. Since his start in the 1960s as a Michigan State Parks Ranger, Steve has served in National Park Service (NPS), as a high school and college biology instructor, and as chief naturalist at three different nature centers. He has been recognized by NAI, National Park Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Michigan Audubon Society.
Steve has authored over 100 articles related to nature and interpretation through Michigan Audubon and local newspapers. Retirement has not slowed Steve down. He continues to write his “Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche” newspaper column for the Cedar Springs Post. In addition, he regularly leads programs and organizes workshops on wildflowers, outdoor photography, butterflies, and native landscaping. Steve lends his many years of experience in land conservancy related to the endangered Karner blue butterfly, and leads butterfly counts in Michigan and Bryce Canyon National Park.
“Over many decades and well into retirement “Ranger Steve,” in many diverse capacities and through his myriad talents, has consistently demonstrated his passion for our profession,” said Ray Novotny, of the National Association for Interpretation.
Ranger Steve is a life member for the Lepidopterists’ Society and is conducting a biodiversity study of the butterflies and moths at Bryce Canyon National Park, in association with Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity, where he is a research associate. He discovered a new species of virgin tiger moth in 2005. He maintains a Michigan Audubon Society teaching collection of birds and mammals permitted through the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Department of Natural Resources, that are displayed at Howard Christensen Nature Center, Wittenbach/Wege Agri-science and Environmental Education Center, and are used in teaching Ornithology for Grand Rapids Community College.
In March, The NAI awared Mueller the 2010 Distinguished Interpreter award, he highest award they bestow.