Evan Coulson

Associate Professor of Outdoor Education
Bro Professor of Sustainable Regional Development

Northland College headshot Evan Coulson
Office:Second floor, Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute
Email:Send a message...


Earned and Honorary Degrees

PhD Southern Illinois University, Forest Recreation
MEd Southern Illinois University, Outdoor Recreation Resource Administration
BS Southern Illinois University, Therapeutic Recreation and Outdoor Leadership


The product of a free-range childhood, I grew up exploring the many wonders that abound in my home state of Oregon. Moving to the Midwest during my teen years, I continued to find meaning in outdoor experiences while working at a summer camp deep within the heart of the Shawnee National Forest in southernmost Illinois.

I have previously served as the coordinator for Southern Illinois University's outdoor recreation leadership and management program, as the coordinator of outdoor pursuits at Stephen F. Austin State University, as the outdoor education and camping services director at Camp Ondessonk, as well as an instructor in various adaptive adventure, wilderness therapy, and outdoor education programs across the country.

My professional service activities include work with the Wilderness Education Association, the Association for Experiential Education, the Access Fund, and as the Wisconsin State Advocate for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

Why Northland?

I am a firm believer in field-based, experiential learning. This approach to teaching and learning is at the heart of the Northland College experience. Topped off by being located in the spectacular north woods along the south shore of Lake Superior and comprised of a community of passionate students, staff, and faculty, Northland is a dream come true!


I teach courses ranging from outdoor education foundations and principles, teaching techniques, advanced program design, and inclusive outdoor education to technical outdoor leadership and skill development, wildland stewardship, and expeditionary travel.


My academic interests include recreation ecology, the study of ecological interrelationships between humans and natural resources in recreation contexts, and the human dimensions of natural resources, which seek to understand, predict and influence human thought and behaviors related to natural resources. These two disciplines form much of the science that informs the principles and practices of Leave No Trace.

I am also keenly interested in studying the psychological outcomes associated with experiences in the natural world and work with Northland students and faculty colleagues in assessing such outcomes associated with programs of the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute.

Student Involvement

A fundamental aspect of these courses is the problem-based, applied nature of each experience as they tie into real-world outreach programming that I coordinate and facilitate through the work of the Northland College Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute. Students in my classes don't wait 'till graduation to change lives and improve the world around them; they do so every day while strengthening themselves personally and professionally.


I love paddling the beautiful waterways of this region and getting out for the fresh air and joy of a trail trot with my sweet, sweet wife. This area is a paddler and trail runner's paradise!