Hazel Ridge Workshop & Gallery

Meet the Author and Illustrator

Binocs and Easel

Meet Gijsbert                Meet Robbyn                Meet Gijsbert & Robbyn

Born in the Netherlands, Gijsbert
van Frankenhuyzen developed an early
interest in studying and observing
nature and wildlife. Every Sunday,
his father Andre would take
the entire family of eight brothers
and sisters into the woods to explore,
examine and experience what he knew
to be a diminishing resource. The
woods and the wetlands became an
outdoor classroom where Gijsbert
would spend hours observing and

His formal education began in 1968
when he enrolled in the Royal Academy
of Arts in Arnhem, the Netherlands, to
study graphic design. Upon graduating,
he was employed as a commercial artist
and photographer.

He immigrated to Michigan in 1976
and became the art director for the
Michigan Natural Resources Magazine.
For seventeen years he was responsible
for the photos, paintings and layout of
the magazine. He can attribute his
familiarity and love of Michigan's
natural resources to that job.

With the sale and privatization of
the magazine in 1993, Gijsbert chose
this time to become a full time painter.
His gallery is located in the rural part
of Bath, where his 40-acre farm, with
natural fields, woodlots and wetlands,
inspire many of his paintings. He also
travels to schools and libraries offering
a variety of programs, from hands-on
drawing & painting classes to a wide
variety of slide shows.His programs are
popular statewide.

He has painted large murals that can
be found in schools, museums, zoos,
bookstores, libraries and state and

federal parks including exhibits at Fort
Mackinac on Mackinac Island and
Fort Michilimackinac in Mackinaw City.

Gijsbert has illustrated the four
“Great Lakes Regions" series of books,
including The Mammals, The Ancient
, The Reptiles and Amphibians,
and The Insects of the Great
Lakes Regions
. You can find his work
in Owls of North America and
The Best of Wildlife Art
The Island Within Us. He is also
one of five illustrators for The Birds
of Michigan
, a large hardbound
volume with text and illustrations
of the birds of Michigan. His five
different DNR habitat posters
(The Wetlands, Dunes, Rivers,
Beech-Maple Forest and The Jack
Pine) are used throughout the state as
a popular tool to educate the public on
Michigan's diverse resources.

Spring of 1998, Sleeping Bear Press
of Ann Arbor, Mi., released his first full
color children's book, The Legend
of Sleeping Bear.
The book was later
honored as Michigan's Official State
Children's Book. And thus began his
career as a children’s book illustrator.

As wildlife rehabilitators, Gijsbert and
Robbyn, with the help of daughters
Heather and Kelly, cared for orphaned
and injured wildlife for over 20 years.
They cared for everything from foxes,
fawns, opossums and skunks to raccoons,
rabbits, hawks and owls.

He is most proud of his Hazel Ridge
Farm children’s book series on which he
collaborated with his wife, Robbyn.
These true stories, taken from their years
of caring for wild animals, are filled
with his beautiful illustrations.

Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen

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Robbyn has dedicated much of her life
to caring for animals. As a youngster
she brought orphaned animals home to
mend and when she was an adult, folks
delivered them to her doorstep. Growing
up as the middle child in a household
with six sisters, she became the
"entertainer". Her elaborate
and theatrical story telling was her way
of finding her own voice in a crowd.

Her parents encouraged her to make
her hobby her career, so with that in
mind she attended Michigan State
University and became an animal

She met her illustrator husband,
Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, at the
clinic where she worked. They raised
two beautiful daughters, Heather and
Kelly, and together they shared a
mutual love of nature. In 2000, the
couple collaborated on their first

children’s book, Adopted by
an Owl
, a true story of a great
horned owl they raised and released.
But rather than returning to the wild,
Jackson the Great Horned Owl
chose to spend his entire life with his
human family, living free on their 40-
acre farm.

Adopted by an Owl, Saving
, Kelly of Hazel Ridge, and
Itsy Bitsy & Teeny Weeny were
all written with the help of their family
journals. Nature journaling is a part of
their daily lives and an enjoyable way to
document all the animals that are a
part of their lives.

Today, Robbyn visits schools, zoos
and nature centers sharing with
children and adults the value of
journaling, the joy of story telling and
the importance of protecting our
natural world.

Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen

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Gijsbert and Robbyn van Frankenhuyzen
have lived on their 40-acre farm in
Bath, Mi., since the Fall of 1980.
Hazel Ridge Farm began as a sheep farm,
with acres of corn, soy and hay fields.
As stewards of this small piece of land,
the van Frankenhuyzens dug ponds, planted
thousands of trees and created natural
prairies; thus maintaining the balance
of many different eco-systems. Over time
and with lots of hard work, they created
a natural refuge to suit much of
Michigan’s diverse fauna and flora.

During their twenty-five years of wildlife
rehabilitation, this unique eco-system
became a safe haven for many of the
orphaned and injured wild animals that
they nurtured back to health. As
children’s books author and illustrator,
Gijsbert and Robbyn share their love for
nature in their art and their words. They
visit schools, libraries, zoos and nature
centers sharing with children and adults
the value of journaling, the joy of drawing
and the importance of protecting our
natural world.

Robbyn and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen

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Robbyn and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
7409 Clark Rd.
Bath, Mi. 48808
Phone 517-641-6690

© 2011, Hazel Ridge Farm & Marsi Parker Darwin, All Rights Reserved