Tom Nelson first became interested in orchids as a teenager in Utah, where he was mentored by the noted botanist Arthur Holmgren, an authority on the flora of the Great Basin Region. Tom studied the native species of the nearby Bear River Range and grew tropical species in the greenhouse that his wonderfully supportive parents built. Tom ended up pursuing a career in music, and is currently a professional jazz pianist in New York City, where he lives with his wife Jackie and daughters Johanna and Christina. In 2007, the Nelson family began a series of epic family orchid hunting road trips to the far corners of North America. The Nelsons have driven over 60,000 miles in pursuit of wild orchids, allowing Tom to see and photograph 103 species and varieties. Tom has written a series of articles for the North American Native Orchid Journal telling the tale of these trips; he also gives talks about native orchids.