Dan Campbell

The miner's canary

THEMES: Society, Challenges & Opportunities, Conservation  |  WORKSHOP: Natural History & Society


Dan Campbell

Dan wandered his way from a BS in Transcendentalist literature (Oberlin, 1969) to Adventure Education (instructor and resident naturalist for Colorado Outward Bound) to teaching Field Ecology at College of Marin in the early 70's, then to opening an Environmental Education field school in Marin, and on to Experiential Education (one of the founders of AEE and first MEd in Experiential Ed from CU) and eventually to conservation (27 years with TNC in AZ, Belize, Bahamas and Jamaica). Natural History has been Ariadne's thread woven through all of them. He found the appreciation, study and practice of Natural History to be a great unifier – from raising funds from the nation's wealthiest to aiding conservation biologists in setting up field studies in all kinds of settings. He is currently charged with managing TNC's Verde River Program from Prescott, AZ.




Dan Campbell: One of the roles of a naturalist has always been to be the proverbial miner's canary. The canary in the mine when the oxygen was low, it showed it first and was the early warning system that something was wrong. One of of the things that I'm hoping that naturalists can do, is to not die, but to squawk. To be the ones that see what's happening, observe it and call attention to it, and do it in a way that illustrates for people what these natural processes are, were, should be, and helps us turn the corner so that we end up with better public policy around the natural processes of the world. I think that's why it's important to society. It's going to be part and parcel of our survival.