Wild Keeper Spotlight: Erika

Every city has its unsung heroes, those who go above and beyond to make the world a better place. In Los Angeles, we have Erika, one of our amazing wild keeper volunteers who is on a mission to rid our outdoor spaces of litter. With her cape flapping in the wind and her trusty litter picker in hand, Erika is a force to be reckoned with.

Who is Erika?

Erika is not your average superhero. She doesn't have super strength or the ability to fly (although she wishes she did). Instead, she has an unwavering dedication to keeping our parks, beaches, and hiking trails clean and beautiful. Armed with her infectious enthusiasm and a never-ending supply of trash bags, Erika is a true champion of the environment. She has been a wild keeper for one term and joining the Wild Keeper program has held her accountable. She said, "as someone who studies environmentalism, there is always this urge or need to want to do more and being apart of this community helps keep me accountable and inspire change to others."

How did Erika become a nature-loving superhero?

In 2017 Erika began rock climbing and her love for the outdoors spiraled into more hobbies like hiking and backpacking. She reflected that she has experienced some challenges outdoor spaces, "as a latinx in the LGBTQ community it always hard to feel included in the outdoors, especially growing up I saw hiking and any outdoor community as a white person actively but I am happy to see it becoming more and more inclusive throughout the years. I do think there still so much work that needs to be done but I am hopeful."

From her love of rock climbing and noticing all the litter left behind, she sprang into action, picking up each piece of litter with a determination that would make any superhero proud. She is also very passionate about people learning more about deforestation and the palm oil industry -- learning about how much impact these industries have on the health and longevity of our outdoor spaces and our own health! 

Erika shares, "I think two important causes are deforestation and ocean conservation and I’d ask people to research the impact those two things have on our environment and the creatures that reside in these spaces. Sadly, they are getting destroyed and we are not only ruining our own home but so many other animals are being effected by this."

What motivates Erika to keep going?

For Erika, it's not just about cleaning up the mess. It's about creating a better future for generations to come. She believes that every piece of litter removed is a step towards a cleaner, healthier planet. And she's not afraid to get her hands dirty (literally) to make that happen. So far, Erika has removed 89.73 pounds of litter from nature and she strives to host more beach cleanups in 2024. 

How can you be a superhero like Erika?

Now, you might be wondering how you can join Erika in her quest to keep our outdoor spaces clean. Well, it's easier than you think. Start by grabbing a pair of gloves and a trash bag, and head out to your local park or beach. Every piece of litter you pick up is a small victory for the environment.

And if you're feeling extra adventurous, why not organize a litter cleanup event in your community? Gather your friends, family, and neighbors, and make a day of it. Not only will you be making a tangible difference, but you'll also be creating memories that will last a lifetime.

You can also become a Wild Keeper with us! 

Remember, you don't need superpowers to be a superhero. All it takes is a little bit of time, effort, and a whole lot of heart. So, channel your inner Erika and let's make the world a cleaner, greener place, one piece of litter at a time.

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