Meet Melissa Dixson, the ethical taxidermist. She’s a conservationist, relying on non-endangered animals harvested due to overpopulation, stillborn animals and animals harvested for meat whose hunters have donated the hides. She never uses fur from fur farms in any of her work. She doesn’t kill animals or stuff them for sport, but she does view taxidermy as a way to elevate nature into art. And she wonders, if art is a trophy, isn’t taxidermy therefore a trophy of sorts, but not in the negative sense with which we’ve all been conditioned to think of it? Dixson, who was born in Chapel Hill, is the thinking (wo)man’s taxidermist, exploring our relationship to life and to nature and questioning whether death, in all its inevitability, isn’t just one of the most beautiful art forms of all. If none of that interests you in the slightest, skip the animals and go straight to her blog. In addition to beautiful pictures and objets d’art, she also features interesting readings, like this article about the link between drinking beer and attracting mosquitoes. If you’re allergic to the long-nosed vampires like Dixson and I are, you’ll appreciate the insight.