For as long as I can remember, I have loved being outdoors and around animals. Like many, I thought the only way to work with animals would be to become a veterinarian. But I also had a very creative side growing up, doing a lot of drawing, writing, and photography. In high school, I studied the highest-level science courses and shadowed veterinarians. I also joined the yearbook staff, and fell in love with a whole new interest of publishing. 

The best communications college in my home state of New Jersey, Rowan University, was in my hometown of Glassboro, so I decided to pursue a degree in communications instead of biology. I loved the process of using words and images to tell a story. I found, however, that being a resident of the northeast meant that hard news was the direction most journalists pursued. That wasn't my interest, so I found a way to combine my love of animals, science, and publishing by taking my first job out of college at a medical publisher. 

Never_Summer_sunset_RMNP_2019_1Never_Summer_sunset_RMNP_2019_1A gorgeous sunset over the Never Summer Range from Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. I spent eight years in medical publishing but being around veterinary books kept that dream alive. I visited several veterinary schools to learn if following that path was still an option. It wasn't for a variety of reasons but visiting Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine in Fort Collins, Colo., gave me my first glimpse into a new lifestyle where I could enjoy the outdoors and be around amazing wildlife and landscapes. 

Instead, I completed an MBA in marketing at Temple University in Philadelphia, and then moved to Colorado to find a more outdoor-oriented lifestyle and a new job combining my veterinary interests with creative outlets. I worked for several years at a medical animation company overseeing account management, marketing, and producing all of the veterinary programs.

Elk_at_sunrise_RMNP_2020_1Elk_at_sunrise_RMNP_2020_1Four yearling elk (Cervus elaphus) stand in a meadow of fresh green spring grass under a colorful sunrise sky in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Colorado and the Rocky Mountains is where I truly learned to combine my storytelling passions with the outdoors, including writing about and photographing wildlife. It still took me a few years to get to a point before I went full time with my photography and writing, but the suicide attempt by my mother and the unexpected deaths of Aeric, my partner of 15 years, and my father, all in just four months, gave me the final push to live the life I wanted as a storyteller raising awareness about the wildlife and wild lands of the Rocky Mountains and Alaska. 

Dawn_Denali_2017_1Dawn_Denali_2017_1Dawn Wilson poses for a head shot on the tundra in Denali National Park, Alaska. Today I strive to not only take beautiful and dynamic images, but capture the behavior, the environment, and the challenges animals face in the shrinking world of more cars, people, roads, homes, and shopping centers at the expense of habitat for wildlife. 

Storytelling using my nature images and writing has become my goal to communicate the spirit of the natural world to others in hopes they too will recognize the power we have to make a difference.