Before pursuing a major in English Literature and numerous educational courses, Michael spent long days with his grandfather digging and repairing water wells in rural Nebraska. Those early years with his wise progenitor instilled an appreciation of the precious value of our water resources and the need to conserve and protect them. He also gained hands-on experience growing and preserving food, composting the leftovers and a general respect for the earth.
In the spring of 1975 Michael and his wife, Susan, with two young children in tow, chose Santa Fe to raise their family. Soon after arriving, the Nelsens opened the Haven Restaurant on Canyon Road. The Haven gained both local and national acclaim, becoming one of Santa Fe’s favorites. Michael also managed other establishments that included the San Francisco St. Bar & Grill, the Zia Diner, the Steaksmith and Harry’s Roadhouse.
After 25 plus years in the restaurant business, Michael decided to pursue another of his life’s love of gardening into a business venture. The transition included five years of the study toward the practice of landscape design and construction and a license as a Landscape Contractor. EcoScapes was opened in 2002 with a clear mission of utilizing rainwater through water catchment systems to reduce the need for increasingly scarce potable water supplies.
Michael remains enthused with reading and home gardening, plus other active pursuits of practicing yoga, skiing, hiking, mushroom gathering and mountain biking in the hills around Santa Fe.