Daniel Paquette

Lead Instructor

  • B.A. English, Indiana University
  • Preschool Music Teacher:
    Carmel Cooperative Preschool
    Geist Orchard Coopreative Preschool
    Sprouts Academy Preschool
  • Wilderness First Aid
  • USA Archery Level 1 Instructor


I first learned to love the land in my backyard on the eastside of Indianapolis. Mulberry trees and wild raspberry bushes fed me every summer. The “sour grass” excited my taste buds and became my first plant friend.

When I was ten years old my family went on an epic three week camping trip out west, and I fell in love with camping and wild places. 

In highschool I was beyond lucky to visit the Rocky Mountain National park two summers in a row and backcountry camp in the mountains. 

Starting a family brought car-camping into our regular routine and then when my children were old enough we started our journey exploring the backcountry of the wildest places in the midwest. 

Foraging and medicine making led me to Greg Monzel’s classes at White Pine which led to enrolling our kids in summer camp which led to leading the preschool program here. 

In the four years I’ve been an instructor at White Pine the natural world has opened up to me and welcomed me to a place of remembering what it is to be fully human. 

The earth calls to us all. 

My mission leading the Tree Frog program is to facilitate a space where children can learn the old language of the land and what it means to be as free and wild as possible within the confines of the modern world. We strive to encourage emotional and physical strength, social skills, radical empathy, and an awakening of all the senses to the natural world. 

I use respectful, curious, and consent-based paradigms of care-giving, modeling, and mutual empowerment. I champion risky play, play-based experiences, child-led activities, and anti-authoritarian boundary setting. 

Thanks to all who have contributed to the growth of this school: Tom Brown Jr, Ernie Shull, Jon Young, Ethan Runnels, Amee Waltman, Sarah Grain, Scott Salmon, Ryan Sims, Evan Prairie, countless others, and most of all Matt Shull for dedicating his life to opening doors for modern people to walk into the sacred space of their human birthright as family members in Mother Earth’s eternal brood. 

Stay Free