A Northwoods Renaissance Man

Meet Douglas Wood, one multi-talented maker.


Douglas Wood — musician, keynote speaker and author of 37 books — grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. And, from very early on, he felt a little out of place.

“I always knew that I belonged where there were lakes and rivers and waters and woods,” he says. “My dad’s side of the family was all from Minnesota. My grandparents lived in Illinois, but had a tradition of heading to the Northwoods every summer. From a very early age they brought me with them. And from that same early age, Minnesota became my favorite place.”

Along with that love of Minnesota came a love of the great outdoors. “My grandfather took me out in a row boat to a little pond full of bluegills and sunfish. That was the moment I became enchanted by the magic that surrounded me in the natural world. Ever since, my life has been about finding more of those magical connections in this world of ours.”

Wood moved to Minnesota in the late 1970s, spending two years as a high school teacher before, as he puts it, “retiring early” to focus on his passion for the Northwoods. “When I was struggling to figure out who I was, I discovered Sigurd Olson, who wrote great essay collections about the Northwoods. Reading his books helped set me on the path I needed to be on.”

That path has led to a life sharing the joys of our natural world through story, song and as a wilderness guide. “I’ve been told that I have a great ability to communicate,” says Wood in what we feel is a pretty grand understatement.

Wood possesses a deep empathy for people, and understands how important a connection with nature can be for people of all ages — especially children.

“As a child, I had a lot of trouble in school,” he says. “I was very shy. Reading was difficult, paying attention was a challenge. Years later I was diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, but the way I coped as a kid was by developing this connection to nature. Now I have this real love for the underdog. I want to help kids like me succeed.”Discover his music, books and more at douglaswood.com.