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Meanwhile in Okoboji: World Explorer David Thoreson Helps People Discover the Beauty of Nature Through Photographs
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Meanwhile in Okoboji: World Explorer David Thoreson Helps People Discover the Beauty of Nature Through Photographs

Iowan David Thoreson has explored the world over, becoming the first American sailor in history to accomplish the Northwest Passage in both directions.

He has sailed more than 65,000 miles across the globe from the Antarctic to the Arctic as well as a 28,000-mile circumnavigation of the North and South American continents.

Yet, he always finds his way back home.

And the Dickinson County Conservation Board is glad he does, because the nature center in Okoboji has the pleasure of having some of this explorer/photographer’s images on display May-June in the eARTh exhibit area.

The exhibit, titled Discover Nature By Searching for Birds, will feature all-new photos of great blue herons, osprey and trumpeter swans that will make people think more about the beauty around them.

“I want people to explore their local environments, in essence, explore their world,” Thoreson said. “That’s what photography makes you do.”

Thoreson has had an interest in photography since he was a child, and he has been taking pictures as long as he can remember.

“After considering other careers, I decided photography matched my love of nature and the outdoors with sailing the world’s oceans,” he said. “People know me because I am a sailor who has taken extreme adventures through the Arctic and speak about climate change. Having a good story to go with the photographs adds to the depth of the visual art.”

You can hear Thoreson speak about his images on display at the nature center during an opening reception to be held in his honor 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 12. Thoreson will give a presentation beginning at 6 p.m.

He will also teach people how to create their own visual stories during his class 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at the Dickinson County Nature Center. The Explore Nature and Tell Your Story class will combine aspects of visualization, photographic composition and storytelling.

Students high-school age or older should have a basic understanding of photography. Participants should bring a camera --- anything from a smartphone to a DSLR and lenses --- as well as a tablet or laptop with power cords to work on a digital presentation. Some knowledge of Powerpoint or Keynote will also be helpful for registrants.

The class costs $50 and has a minimum of six students to be held and a maximum of 15 students. Registration is available at on the nature center website. Participants also may drop off their class payments, made out to David Thoreson, during nature center open hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday (through Memorial Day weekend) or 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (starting Memorial Day weekend).

Thoreson’s photos in the nature center exhibit will be for sale, ranging from $300-$600. Thoreson sells limited copies of his photographs, no more than 20 of each image, so you are guaranteed to have a unique item if you make a purchase.

 “We are very excited to have such a talented photographer exhibit and teach at the Dickinson County Nature Center,” said community relations coordinator Kiley Roth. “His images are stunning and tell such a powerful story about the importance of the environment. We can’t wait for people to come in to see Thoreson’s work.”

For more information on Thoreson, including information on his book “Over the Horizon,” visit

You can find out what else is happening at the Dickinson County Nature Center on our website or keep up on the latest news on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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