When North Oaks resident Joe Samuel contacted me about a wood sculpture of an eagle he had commissioned for his yard, I had to find out more. The story of this amazing piece of art created from a dead pine tree is a lesson in turning something broken into something beautiful, supporting a remarkable art form and talented artist and honoring the memories of loved ones in a unique and meaningful way. 

Q: How did you come up with the idea of this creative turn for the dead tree? 


Q: How long did the carving take to emerge?

A: Dan completed the work in a day and a half and received many compliments from residents walking past while he was working. In addition, Dan recently won the Minnesota State Fair 2020 butter carving competition.

A: The eagle is a memorial for my parents and my wife’s bother, who recently died. In addition, I’m a Marine (and a veteran) and the eagle in the Marine Corps emblem represents our nation. The eagle carving symbolizes many things for our family. 

Q: Wow, the final result is so impressive! It must have been fascinating to see this take shape in your own yard. 

A: We thought it was cool, and our kids were amazed as they checked in on its progress. 

Q: How did you find out about the wood sculptor artist, Dan Ross?  


A: A company we use for buckthorn management and tree trimming, Woodland Restoration, topped the tree a year ago as we knew we wanted to make the tree an accent piece in the future. I asked the tree company for a recommendation and a couple months later the owner, Jared Culp, provided us Dan's contact info. We met with Dan, talked about his other sculptures (ice, sand and snow); his passion for his work is what sold us. It also helped that both of us are engineers, although his engineering creativity is much greater than mine.  

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