Nate's Bio

7/23/1976 – 7/20/2010

Nate lived Gandhi’s admonition….”Be the change you wish to see in the world”.  He embraced people with love and optimism and encouraged them to make a difference in their world.  Nate led by example and inspired others to follow in his footsteps.  An avid conservationist, he cared deeply about the planet.  Love, borne out of service to others, was his creed.  Nate believed that “individual activism” was the way to bring change to the world.

Nate entered the world on July 23, 1976, in Longview, WA.  At 9 lbs. 8 oz., he soon learned that the world was his to explore.  Hiking and climbing in the Washington Cascades with his siblings and family, he found room for his soul to soar on Mount Rainier and other nearby peaks.   Paddling in the family kayak, Nate discovered the peace and serenity found out on the water.  Later, he would kayak 3,200 miles from Gardiner, MT to the Gulf of Mexico.  Bicycling opened up Europe to this intrepid explorer with a long trek through Italy and the Balkan Peninsula. 

With a penchant for the outdoors and possessing a “sense of wonder”, Nate found joy and meaning in the natural world. He experienced Patagonia Argentina and New Zealand up close and personal.  Excursions to the State of Baja California, England and Northern Ireland reconnected him with one of his true loves, Mother Earth.  Nate’s intimacy with nature led to an outdoor recreation and political science degree from Western Washington University.  With his new found knowledge in hand, he started working for the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) in Yellowstone National Park.

Possessing an inordinate fondness for nature and understanding the importance of imparting knowledge of our Nation’s natural environment and heritage, Nate worked six summers at YCC with teenage youth of America.  During this time, he attempted to awaken his students’ curiosity by utilizing “spontaneous unpredictability” and “adventure learning.”  Nate’s goal was to educate and inspire students to develop an inner passion about their environment that would eventually find expression in their adult lives.

Nate’s photography captured what was beautiful along the road of life.  Open to a level of “being” in his world, he paused to “see” and “experience” the rich diversity on the “side of the road”.  Photos of wonder, joy and exquisite beauty celebrated his journey.  To see the world through his camera lense was a gift.

Nate loved the humanities and pursued knowledge with a passion.   He found pleasure in the theatre, art, philosophy and music.  Nate loved his family and friends, books, politics, working for social justice, chess, U2 and debate.  His life was a song and he walked here amongst us. 

“We will be known by the tracks we leave behind.”  Lakota Proverb

Nate Paulson, YCC Director

I am a Washingtonian, an activist, a traveler, a brother, a mountaineer, a conservationist, a philosopher, a political hack, a Patagoniac, a chess player, a friend, a kayaker, a debater, a ping-pong player, a Mate sipper, a reader, a rock climber, a museum lover, a U2 fan, a backpacker, a listener, a backcountry chef, a son, a humorist, a leader, a theater-goer, a bicyclist, a chocoholic, an eclectic music lover, an NPR listener, a road-tripper, a nomad, an educator, a husband*, a student, a feminist, a Star Wars fan, a counselor, a father*, a photographer, a writer, a dreamer…HUMAN.

*Added after Nate’s death.



Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms thier energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

- John Muir