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Mysteries of the Driftless Film Featured on Wisconsin Public Radio

Submitted Wednesday, February 12th 2014 1:57 pm by Timothy S. Jacobson
in   Mysteries of the Driftless    documentary    film    exploration    Driftless Area    Driftless Region    rare species    algific talus slope    goat prairie    Kickapoo River    cave art    effigy mounds  

Mysteries of the Driftless Film

Featured on Wisconsin Public Radio

By Timothy S. Jacobson

~The Nonprofit Provocateur~

Mysteries of the Driftless film screenshot

On 2/12/2014, I was interviewed on The Larry Meiller Show on Wisconsin Public Radio ( along with Katie Beilfuss from the Wisconsin Wetlands Association to talk about WWA's annual conference in La Crosse, Wis., where the Mysteries of the Driftless documentary will be shown. I served as executive producer of this film of science exploration and adventure along with George Howe.

Mysteries of the Driftless is about a team of science filmmakers, led by Rob Nelson and Dan Bertalan, exploring a number of mysteries of the Driftless landscape, while kayaking the rivers, flying in a small plane, and hiking the bluffs of the Upper Midwest in a captivating adventure documentary about the Driftless Region.

What strange forces spared one isolated region along the Upper Mississippi River from the repeated crushing and scouring effects of massive continental glaciers during the last million-plus years? What pre-Ice Age throwbacks survived here in this unique refuge that holds more Native American effigy mounds, petroglyph caves, strange geological features, and rare species than anywhere in the Midwest? A team of science filmmakers explores these questions and more in this captivating adventure documentary about the Driftless Area. The film is a production of Untamed Science and Mississippi Valley Conservancy.

Rob Nelson, CEO of Untamed Science said, “I've lived in a lot of pretty place—Hawaii, Miami, Australia, Montana, Colorado—places people go to for beautiful scenery. In those places you have certain expectations. The great thing about the Driftless is that it catches you by surprise. People don't usually go to Northern Iowa for amazing scenery. I think that makes floating down a river like the Kickapoo that much better—you think, ‘Boy, I just found a hidden treasure.’”

Filmmaker Dan Bertalan said, “If there's one thing that impacted me the most in making of this film, is the sheer amount of natural wonders the Driftless has to discover that lay hidden with the region. It's just a matter of knowing where to look and what to look for. In fact, it’s almost embarrassing as a filmmaking scientist living in Wisconsin that I've traveled the Driftless Area for years, just skimming over the veneer, never realizing all the genuine natural and historical mysteries that lay hidden within the ridges and valleys there. And each natural mystery that we tried to unravel during the expedition only generated more questions about what happened here over the past couple million years. This film will definitely open people's eyes with some startling revelations.”

The film has been very popular. It was broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television in November 2013, and it's slated for broadcast across Wisconsin two more times. The film has screened at the Flyway Film Festival in Pepin, Wis., the Frozen River Film Festival in Winona, MN where it was selected as one of the "can't miss" selections of the FRFF Committee, and the Driftless Film Festival in 3 different cities where it was selected as one of the Best of the Fest. The documentary is scheduled to be shown at the Oneota Film Festival in Decorah, Iowa at the end of Feb. 2014. The film premiered at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts in La Crosse, Wis., on September 16, 2013, at which time it was seen by a whopping 600 people in two showings. Also, the film has been shown at various universities, public libraries and annual meetings of conservation groups. “Mysteries” has been featured in news stories around the country.

I am thankful for the opportunity to have played a role in creating this conservation-themed film to promote and protect the Driftless Area's precious natural landscape. I hope you will join me in supporting the film. Visit for details about the film or go to to order DVDs.

Check out the author's Facebook page at and find him on Twitter at

Like’ and/or 'Share' this article below if you appreciate our beautiful and mysterious natural landscape. What types of outdoor exploration have you done or would you still like to do? Share your stories!

Photo of Tim Jacobson

Tim Jacobson, CEO of Visjonær Consulting & Communications, has served as a board member and executive of a variety of nonprofit and for-profit organizations over the past two decades. He's author of the book Explosive Marketing for Nonprofits: Trajectory for Success, to be released in 2014, the executive producer of a documentary film, Mysteries of the Driftless, broadcast on PBS, and author of Amazon best-selling thriller The Kurchatov Penetration. He has been featured dozens-upon-dozens of times by TV and radio stations, magazines and newspapers for his organizational consulting, filmmaking, writing, conservation and legal work and for his exploration of international justice and peace issues.

This article is copyright (c) 2014, Timothy S. Jacobson. All rights reserved.


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