Favorite Wild Place:The Smoky Mountains
Lauren Becks lives in farm country, just outside of Medina, Ohio. It’s her first term as a Wild Keeper and she couldn’t be more excited about the community she joined. “It was so cool when I joined! I lost my mind when I got into the group chat and saw all these amazing people,” she says of joining the group chat for all the Wild Keepers.
She first learned about the Wild Keeper program from a close friend. Lauren noticed that her friend was actually getting out and doing cleanup work and found it very inspiring. When Lauren’s friend signed on to become a Mentor for the Fall Term, she encouraged Lauren to join as a Wild Keeper.
Traveling has always been a big part of Lauren’s life and she’s visited some amazing places: Across Europe to the Arabian Desert, Dubai to Denali National Park. She feels it’s best when joined by friends or family, or even best pup Belle. “It’s a social, bonding experience that I have a hard time enjoying solo. I enjoy the wilderness best with other people.” Growing up she was always sent to play outside and she feels this attributed to her becoming a science nerd. She lives on an old 10 acre cow farm and you’ll often find her collecting pieces of nature from her pond and surrounding areas. Playing in the mud and climbing trees is not just a childhood pastime!
More recently, Lauren has discovered a love for back country camping through her boyfriend. The Smoky Mountains are a nearby escape that she’s fallen for and says “… it feels like home.” It’s the belief that it’s all about the little things that drives Lauren. Being a part of the Wild Keeper community has proved to her that little things can make a big impact. It has inspired her to make changes within her own life that lesson her footprint on the planet.
Lauren has big plans for the future and one includes her personal business. She sells natural health food/treats for pets. You can check out her goods at www.girlsgonerawpet.com. If you’re a fan of adorable pet photos, you’ll love the site!
Meet Lauren's mentor, Maddie Polk
This is Maddie’s fourth term as a Wild Keeper and first as a Mentor. She’s a senior music education major at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. She’s originally from Medina and says it’s “the homiest little town you’ll ever come across south of Cleveland!”
She loves being a part of the Wild Keeper Program and has met some of the most incredible and inspirational people through it. It has completely reshaped the way she lives her life. She’s witness just how big of an impact we can make even as individuals and then collectively as a group. Other Wild Keepers give her so much hope for the future of our wild places.
She grew up hiking and frequently thanks her mom and aunt for that! Being outdoors is an amazing experience because of the epic beauty you find, but also because it can bring people together. She finds nothing more humbling than to be surrounded by towering trees in the middle of the woods.
Maddie nominated Lauren as a Weekly Wild Keeper because of her commitment to the program. She didn’t post just one photo on impact day, she posted three, all with great messages. Maddie feels Lauren has been an asset to the group in encouraging and inspiring others.
A Wild Keeper is an ambassador that does more than just rock our gear. They participate in monthly #ImpactDays by removing trash from a wild place in their local community.
A Mentor is the leader of a small group of Wild Keepers. Along with participating in #ImpactDays, Mentors also offer encouraging and educational advice to their group members.