Clayton Russell

Associate Professor of Environmental and Outdoor Education

Northland College Outdoor Education Professor, Clayton Russell, wearing Voyageur garb, in the Gouvernail, or Steersman positition in a Canot du Nord, or North Canoe

I have always been an outdoor guy, from the time I was a scampering wee tyke. My earliest memories are of playing outside on “the Hill,” hiking at my grandfather’s “cabin,” stompin’ around in “Yellow Crik” looking for crayfish, playing in Freeport, Illinois’ numerous parks, or riding my bicycle. These early experiences in the out-of-doors fueled my interest in biology, ecology, Scouts, early American history, and a career that would let me be outside as much as possible. While in high school I spent my summers mowing lawns, working at Scout camp, and managing to start a glass recycling program in my hometown.

Winters, when not in school, were spent volunteering at the local nature center or cross country skiing at Le-Aqua-Na State Park. As I continued my schooling at Western Illinois University and Ball State University, I became a seasonal naturalist for the Illinois Dept. of Conservation. I also went on to provide Interpretive services to Olympic National Park, the Freeport Park District, and on my own as an independent consultant. I took leave from my job and senses (according to some) to pursue additional graduate studies in the Fall of 1985 at the University of Montana. My single purpose was to take one year’s worth of classes with Joseph Epes Brown and explore the Rocky Mountains of the West and of my imagination. It was a grand experience, one that still fuels my passions for teaching and learning.

Welcome to the Northland College Outdoor Education Home page! Feel free to contact me if you need additional information about our programs or the work of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute.