Meet first term Wild Keeper Bernadette 'Berney' Arrogancia! Berney is currently based in Sacramento, CA but striving towards getting a van to travel and life a more nomadic lifestyle.
When we asked Berney how she got into the outdoors she shared, "Since I can remember the outdoors has always brought me unfiltered joy. I really don't know how I got into it, but I remember I was always the kid who got their hands dirty from playing outside, always climbing trees, scoping them out whenever I saw them and analyzing in my head if they were climbable. I'd roll down grass hills as fast as I could, and sometimes knock into a friend because we'd never roll perfectly straight down. Still to this day, I find so much joy in nature and have come to experience it in new and old ways, while building a greater appreciation for both big and small wonders like the first star appearing in the sky during sunset, or when you closely study a leaf you start to see the resemblance to our skin."
Her preferred way to get outdoors is simply: getting outside, "from camping to horseback riding, skydiving to bungee jumping, each experience has brought me so much joy. Yet there are still so many ways I want to experience the outdoors. I have a whole bucket list of ways I want to try everything from backpacking to vanlifing, mountain biking to wingsuit flying, service trips to moto adventures. Every experience has something new to offer, and I'm up for it!"
We asked Berney if she has faced any challenges or struggles in regards to inclusion in the outdoors to which she said, "absolutely. We share this big, beautiful world with billions of people who come from all walks, beliefs and backgrounds, so there is bound to be a person who will exclude someone else for being different than them - like how they look or who they share a sleeping bag with. (News alert: Our differences makes us beautiful!) That's why for everyone one person who excludes you, there's a group waiting to accept you. And when there's a group who discriminates against you, there are communities who will stand with you. The outdoors is for everyone! And nature welcomes you just as you are!"
Learn a little more about Berney and her outdoor experiences below!
KNW: What would you pick between mountains, forests or deserts?
KNW: What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?
B: Being a part of the Wild Keepers is all I hoped for and way more! My favorite thing so far as a newbie is instantly feeling a part of something great. There is intentionality, care, creative innovation and passion in the way KNW builds community. The opportunity to be a Wild Keeper brings so many of us together from all over, and gives us the resources and connections to help us increase our impact, better our practices, and have tons of fun doing it! #empowered
KNW: What has picking up trash outdoors done for you? (shifted perspective, opened your eyes to, etc?)
B: I've never picked up trash and regretted it. I'm always left feeling better knowing nature is left feeling better too. Nature gives so much and so generously - like joy, peace, beauty and a place to call home - yet asks very little from us in return. Which is why when I see trash out in nature, it mind boggles me! Sometimes people forget that home isn't just within the confine of walls, which is why "Not my mess = Not my responsibility," "Someone else will get it," and people giving funny looks when you walk around with a garbage bag, gloves and 'the claw' and pick up litter, still ring true. But for me, as I learn more about the environment and the impact humans are have on the Earth, picking up trash has taught me how to be a better steward - "My Home = My Responsibility." "I'm here. I'll do it."
KNW: Roughly how many pounds do you think you've picked up since you became a Wild Keeper?
KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)
B: For starters, always have a clean up kit with me! Plan camping/clean up trips with friends! Van life is in the plans and when nomadic, go to/host/clean up in as many places and get more people aware of the impact of trash in the outdoors, and how we can help clean up, but also prevent it by using best practices. Continue to get more involved, educated and engaged in KNW! Build more inclusion in the outdoors and keep spreading the message that the outdoors is for everyone!
Follow along with Berney's adventures and wild keeping here!