Naturalist Staff at Spring Creek Ranch
Dawson Smith ‐ Program Director
As Naturalist Program Director at Spring Creek Ranch, Dawson Smith designs and leads science-based tours in Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and on-property at Spring Creek Ranch. Dawson is a skilled naturalist, great communicator and charismatic educator who loves to share the wonders of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with his guests through an authentic experience. He grew up outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he enjoyed exploring the forests and nearby mountains of the Southern Appalachians. From a young age he was drawn to mountains, and that attraction to mountains brought him to Wyoming and the Tetons. Dawson is well versed in the ecology, geology, wildlife biology and public lands management issues of the Greater Yellowstone region through a strong background in the hard sciences. He received a B.S. in forestry from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and is working toward an M.S. in Natural Science Education and Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming. He has worked on numerous wildlife monitoring research projects involving endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise in South Georgia, and pika in Wyoming. He moved to Wyoming eight years ago and since then has worked as a field instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School and Teton Science Schools, has attended graduate school at Teton Science Schools and the University of Wyoming, as well as guided wildlife based eco-tourism trips throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Smith has made contributions to the area’s wildlife community as an educator, researcher, volunteer and board member. In his free time he enjoys skiing, hiking, fishing, rafting, climbing, hunting and cheering on the Atlanta Braves with his wife Adele, son Ward and dog Max.
Rebecca Zulueta ‐ Naturalist
Rebecca Zulueta has worked in the field of wildlife ecology for over 10 years studying everything from chimpanzees to brown bears around the world. She first earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of California San Diego in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution in 2006. After working in the wildlife field for a handful of years she started to realize the importance of human wildlife coexistence and went back to school. In 2012 she earned a joint Master’s of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development. Some of Rebecca’s experiences have included tracking carnivore in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, tromping through the jungles of Thailand to follow troops of monkeys, flying across the wilderness of Alaska to study bears, and trailing chimpanzees in the miombo of Tanzania. Through these adventures she carries a passion for environmental education and works to inspire others to connect with the natural world. Rebecca is also a certified Wilderness First Responder, Bear Safety Instructor, Certified Yoga Instructor (200-RYT), and Reiki Practitioner. Currently Rebecca is designing creative approaches to help connect people to nature and themselves. To learn more about Rebecca and her adventures through the natural world visit www.naturallywildandfree.com
Doug Johnston ‐ Naturalist
Doug Johnston returns for his fifth season at Spring Creek Ranch and his twenty-eighth season in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. As a former National Park Service ranger in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, as well as a retired history teacher, he brings a unique perspective to his guests. Doug is a gifted story-teller, enthusiastic birder, and a keen interpreter of wildlife behavior. He is an avid hiker, nordic skier, and bicyclist. In the off-season you can find him exploring national parks around the world.