Dawson grew up outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he enjoyed exploring the forests and nearby mountains of the Southern Appalachians. From a young age he was drawn to mountains, and that attraction to mountains brought him to Wyoming and the Tetons. He received a B.S. in forestry from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, and an M.S. in Natural Science Education and Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Wyoming. He has worked on numerous wildlife monitoring research projects involving endangered red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise in South Georgia, and pika in Wyoming. He moved to Wyoming six years ago and since then has worked as an instructor and horse packer for the National Outdoor Leadership School and received his masters degree prior to coming to Wildlife Expeditions. In his free time he enjoys skiing, fishing, rafting, climbing, hiking and cheering on the Atlanta Braves.