Daniel Paquette

Youth Instructor

Credentials
  • B.A. English, Indiana University
  • Preschool Music Teacher:
    Carmel Cooperative Preschool
    Geist Orchard Coopreative Preschool
    Sprouts Academy Preschool

Biography

When I was ten years old, my parents gathered my five siblings and me into our brand new van and headed out to the Southwest for a month-long tour of some of America’s most amazing natural wonders. We saw Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, Mesa Verde, the Grand Canyon and so much more. We camped under the stars, sat around campfires, and hiked endless trails, spending hours with Park Rangers learning about constellations, lizards, cactus, and everything wild around us.

The next year my father and two uncles took me, my brother, and my cousin to the Grand Canyon. We all strapped on backpacks and entered the canyon for a two-week backpacking adventure. 

The thrills and wondrous experiences of that hike aroused in me a deep passion for the parts of the Earth still untouched by humans. Rattlesnakes basked at our feet, scorpions crawled into our tents, thunderous streams erupted from cliff faces, and the thriving river fish promised us delicious sustenance if we were crafty enough to catch them.  

My love for the wild wonders of this world have stuck with me ever since. From backpacking trips to the Rocky Mountains in high school, to dozens of car-camping nights at incredible Indiana State Parks, to constantly foraging all summer long for mulberries, service berries, raspberries and anything else growing around us. I’ve never stopped doing my best to slow down, breathe in the wild things around me, and share my love of nature with others.

I first came to White Pine Wilderness Academy as a father, hoping to inspire in my own children the same love of the wilderness that my parents had encouraged in me. The summer camps at White Pine we attended in 2018 blew us away with sheer awesomeness! 

While I was a nanny in Chicago in 2010, I began my career as a preschool music teacher and entertainer. Now I’m so grateful and excited to become a forest preschool teacher too.

I’ve also worked part-time as a blacksmith and carpenter at Conner Prairie since 2015, and can’t wait to help connect the forest school at White Pine with the incredible wealth of knowledge that treasured museum has to offer.

I believe with all my heart that humans young and old, and especially the very young, should spend as many days as they can outside getting dirty, wet, and exhausted. We are all children of Mother Earth and should be exposed to her bewildering embrace as much as possible. We are all in this together–trees, bugs, critters, birds, flowers, people, and all life–and to be able to join a sacred community like White Pine that honors and treasures that eternal connection, is a tremendous gift whose value is beyond words.