Naturalist Staff at Spring Creek Ranch


Dawson Smith

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 and dog Max.


Doug Johnston

Doug Johnston ‐ Naturalist

Doug returns to the Tetons for his 18th year in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. As a former Yellowstone Park Ranger and retired history teacher he brings a unique perspective to his role as a naturalist for Spring Creek Ranch. A keen wildlife observer and a gifted story teller, he is at his best when sharing the natural world with guests. He is an avid hiker, cyclist, and nordic skier. Whether talking about a Grand Teton climb, one of his four winters at Old Faithful, or the grizzly bear chasing the elk calf, guests will enjoy learning about the natural history of the parks with Doug.


Louise Lasley

Louise Lasley ‐ Naturalist

A geologist with both field and academic experience, Louise Lasley's years in the Jackson Hole area have provided her a broad range of experience. However she has treasured her opportunities to share knowledge of the valley's wildlife, history and geology the most. Prior to joining the Naturalist staff at Spring Creek, Lasley spent ten years working directly on conservation issues in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. At Spring Creek, Lasley thoroughly enjoys the opportunity to take both her knowledge and skills in a new direction by providing the possibility for visitors and residents to learn of the diverse components of the local ecosystem that make Jackson Hole so special.


Kenny Haden

Kenny Haden ‐ Naturalist

Kenny has always had a passion for exploring the outdoors and understanding natural processes. Early work included ridge-running on the Appalachian Trail, instructing skiing, climbing and caving at Colgate University, and guiding wilderness trips in various locales throughout the United States. Kenny has worked as a high school teacher for the past nine years, teaching in nearly every academic department during that time. A desire to advance as both a teacher and a naturalist led him to the Teton Science Schools Graduate Program in Field Science Teaching, which he completed in 2009. With backpacking, climbing and skiing as a backdrop, Kenny has explored the biology, geology and snow science of the Teton Range since then.