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Volunteer Profile: Dawn Wilson

By October 24, 2018No Comments
Dawn Wilson at Quandary Peak , Colorado.

Dawn Wilson at Quandary Peak , Colorado.

Volunteers are the life blood of membership organizations.  At NANPA and the NANPA Foundation, volunteers serve on committees, help plan conferences, present webinars, judge competitions and evaluate grant applications.  Volunteers serve on the Board of Directors and play other key roles in keeping NANPA vibrant, relevant and growing.

This is the second of an occasional series of volunteer profiles, saluting those whose hard work, ideas, passion and commitment benefit NANPA and its members.

NANPA recently had the opportunity to ask NANPA volunteer Dawn Wilson a few questions about her volunteer experiences.

Are you a full-time professional photographer or do you have a different “day job”?

Yes and yes. I continue to run my photography and writing business full time while also working a “day” job as a marketing and communications manager for a park and recreation district in Colorado. The nice thing about the day job is that it provides the benefits that might otherwise be pricey for an individual. I also do all of the writing and photography for them – photos of their sports programs, events, golf courses and new community center as well as press releases, blog posts, website content, magazine articles and more – so the networking has been invaluable. My photography and writing business has continued to prosper and I have expectations to focus solely on that business again in the future.

What types of photography most interest you and why?

Wildlife and particularly mammals of the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. I was a communications major in college and then finished an MBA degree in marketing but as a kid growing up I always wanted to be a veterinarian. Wildlife photography is a passion that satisfies both of those interests. Plus, I just love observing and learning animal behavior while out in the field, sharing the stories about the wide variety of animals I encounter, and encouraging others to be respectful of the animals whose world we share. Since I live in Colorado and travel annually to Alaska, I am just astounded by all of the mammals in these areas – from large bull moose, polar bears and bighorn rams to the smallest squirrels and pikas.

How long have you been a NANPA member?

I’ve been a NANPA member since 2010.

A brown bear sow (Ursus arctos) walks down the beach as her cubs beg to nurse on a cloudy day in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. © Dawn Wilson.

A brown bear sow (Ursus arctos) walks down the beach as her cubs beg to nurse on a cloudy day in Lake Clark National Park, Alaska. © Dawn Wilson.

How have you been involved in NANPA as a volunteer?

I have been involved with the marketing and communications committee for several years now. I have also been one of the judges for NANPA’s annual Nature Photography Day competition for two years and served as a first-round judge for the 2018 Showcase Competition. As part of the marketing committee, I captured videos and photos during the 2017 NANPA Summit and I manage the NANPA Twitter account.

What was it about this work that most interested you?

So far, I would say expanding the content on the NANPA Twitter page, as well as keeping the content fresh and timely. There really is a lot more than can be done on that page. My goal is to continue to improve it.

Did you have a goal going into your NANPA volunteer experience?

Just to help expand the work of NANPA through communication tools

Does volunteering have benefits for you?

Being a volunteer has given me an opportunity to give back to an organization that gives so much to its members. It has also given me a wonderful opportunity to learn more from other NANPA members, be involved and network.

Are you interested in becoming a NANPA volunteer?  We’d love to have you! Explore the many opportunities available or tell us what you’re interested in doing to Get Involved.

Dawn Wilson is a professional, award-winning nature photographer who specializes in photographing the wildlife of high altitudes and high latitudes of the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Outdoor PhotographerNature’s Best Photography and MotorHome. Her prints are sold in galleries and shops in Colorado and she teaches and guides in Colorado and Alaska. To see more of her work and to learn more about her workshops, visit