Steven D. Paulson grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota. His father – a house painter and wallpaperer – had moved there to find work when Steve was ten years old.
For several years after college, Steve volunteered for two environmental organizations in the Black Hills. He helped organize local support for wilderness protection of Harney Peak and the Badlands, and fought plans for uranium mining in the Black Hills.
During that time, Steve met artist Candace Forrette. They were married in 1980 during an intense Black Hills snowstorm. Steve and Candace went off to graduate school at Utah State University, both working as teaching assistants. Steve focused on natural resource policy; his master’s thesis was titled State Mineral Tax Policy: The Function of Goals and Revenue Allocation.
After working in private business for several years, Steve went to work in 1992 for the Northern Plains Resource Council in Billings, Montana. He continues this work today.
Along the way, he’s also had the privilege of getting to know and work with people whose property, livelihoods, and families have been jeopardized by energy development projects. These and other people – defending the values they believe in for their families, their communities, and their country – inspired much of the book Environmentalists.