Jeff Nania

Author Jeff Nania, a white male, wearing a brown sweatshirt and coveralls sitting outside.

Jeff Nania is a former law enforcement officer, biofuel creator, nationally-renowned conservationist, and an award-winning author. The books in his Northern Lakes Mystery series—Figure Eight (2019), Spider Lake (2020), Bough Cutter (2021), and Musky Run (2023) —have been recognized by Midwest Book Awards, Independent Publisher Book Awards, and Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Jeff’s narrative non-fiction writing has appeared in Wisconsin Outdoor NewsDouble Gun JournalThe Outlook, and other publications. 

Jeff was born and raised in Wisconsin. His family settled in Madison’s storied Greenbush neighborhood. His father often loaded Jeff, his brothers, and a couple of dogs into an old jeep station wagon and set out for outdoor adventures. These experiences were foundational for developing a sense of community, a passion for outdoor traditions, and a love of our natural resources. 

Jeff’s first career was in law enforcement where he found great satisfaction in serving the community. He was a decorated officer who served in many roles, including as a member of the canine unit patrolling with his dog, Rosi. 

Things changed and circumstances dictated he take a new direction. The lifelong outdoorsman found a path to serve a different type of community. Over half of Wisconsin’s wetlands had been lost, and more were disappearing each year. Jeff began working with willing landowners to develop successful strategies to restore some of these wetlands. This journey led to creating a field team of strong conservation partners who restored thousands of acres of wetlands and uplands in Wisconsin.

During that time, Jeff realized that the greatest challenge to our environment was the loss of connection between our kids and the outdoors. He donated his energy to restore that connection through Outdoor Adventure Days, an interactive experience giving school children a wet and muddy day in the field. Building on this foundation, Jeff co-founded one of the first environmentally-focused charter schools with teacher Victoria Rydberg, and together, they brought the “hands on, feet wet” philosophy to teachers and students across the state. 

A pioneer in the ecosystem-based approach to restoration and a tireless advocate for conservation education, Jeff has been widely recognized for his work. Outdoor Life Magazine named him as one of the nation’s 25 most influential conservationists and he received the National Wetlands Award. The Wisconsin Senate commended Jeff with a Joint Resolution for his work with wetlands, education, and as a non-partisan advisor on natural resources.

Now a full-time novelist, Jeff spends as much time as possible fishing Spider Lake and exploring Wisconsin’s landscape with his friends and family. Find more of Jeff’s writing online at and follow him on social media.


In the News…

About Jeff Nania: 

About Wisconsin Conservation:

Additional Publications by Jeff: 

  • “For the Love of Restoration” (August 2019) Wisconsin Outdoor News.
  • “The Local Baitshop” (May 17, 2019) Wisconsin Outdoor News.
  • “John Geoghegan: A Man of the Land” (April 19, 2019) Wisconsin Outdoor News.
  • “A Washing Machine, Aldo Leopold, & Mr. Fox” (2015) The Outlook.
  • “Clarence Monegar: Between Two Worlds” (2017) Wisconsin Outdoor News.
  • Global Warming: An Inconvenient Truth with an Inconvenient Answer (Spring/Summer 2008), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. 
  • Age of Discovery (Winter/Spring 2007), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. 
  • Ramblings from a day hunting: The election and ecological restoration (December 2006), Wisconsin Sportsmen's Digest. 
  • Hunting: The Future (Nov 2006), Wisconsin Sportsmen's Digest. 
  • Progress: The Word has Many Meanings (Winter/Spring 2006), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association 
  • Willys: Fence Rows Conversation (Winter/Summer 2005), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. 
  • The Oldman, the double barrel, and the youngster (Summer/Fall 2002), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. 
  • WWA Rewrites History (date unknown), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. 
  • Wetland Habitat Restoration (date unknown), Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. 



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