In Memory 

I write this on behalf of the NLI family – staff, board members and volunteers. We lost Michael Bugler on March 5, 2019. He was a friend, a volunteer, a member of the Marketing & Membership Committee, and served as the primary graphic designer for Natural Land Institute for nearly 15 years. We were his client. He was part of our family.

As the Marketing and Membership Director for the past 8 years I have had the pleasure of working with Michael very closely on publication projects – he created the design and layout of our newsletters, event invitations, fundraising appeals, event signs, banners, and other branding items. He created the current NLI logo and the event logos for Wander at the Wetland, Party on the Prairie, Family Nature Day and Wine & Brew at the Wetland, among others. He designed our current branding and was the creator of our 2018 60th Anniversary T-shirt design and other material for this celebration. Michael donated graphic design services for Family Nature Day, Party on the Prairie and Wine & Brew at the Wetland.

Michael was quick to volunteer for many of our events like Family Nature Day, the Annual Dinner, Wine and Brew at the Wetland and Wander at the Wetland. He also helped with kids activities at Rockford City Market and Meltfest.  In 2014 Michael was recognized as one of our Volunteers of the Year for his commitment, dedication, time and contributions to Natural Land Institute.

When I would send an email meeting notice for the Marketing & Membership Committee meeting he was always first to respond to me that he would attend.  And if he couldn’t he would still be the first to reply to me saying he couldn’t. I could always count on Michael. He was a wonderful contributor and participant on this committee. His creative mind and sense of humor were always welcome in our discussions and planning sessions. We could always count on Michael to contribute valuable ideas at our meetings. He was great at brainstorming!

Michael and I had a lot of fun working together. Sometimes we would go weeks without talking to each other and then we would embark on a project like a newsletter and we would talk several times a week and even many times a day. Mostly by phone. During these intense times when we were getting close to wrapping up the final draft to send to the printer I would call him and he would answer his phone with “Natural Land Institute” and I would say, “ha!, this is Bugler Design Studio 2”. And then we would laugh together. This was funny because I’m a wanna be graphic designer and he knew it. I learned a lot from him and relied on his expertise and talent to make our publications look beautiful and perfect.

We worked a lot with Rockford Litho Printing and the account executive, Willie, told me this past week that his production coordinator loved Michael’s professionalism and quality of work he always submitted for printing. It made the print job run smoothly. She said she wished all of the graphic designers would submit art files like Michael’s.

I appreciated Michael’s professionalism, too. But more importantly I appreciated his friendship.

We – I, will miss his kind and generous heart, sense of humor, and creative spirit. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

—Kim Johnsen

Some photos of Michael helping at and enjoying events:


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