Meet second term Wild Keeper, Kristen! She is based in Anchorage, Alaska and was introduced to the outdoors early on, hiking and camping with her dad when she was a kid. She shared that she has "loved it ever since! I moved to Alaska to be closer to outdoor opportunities and hikes."
So far, her most memorable outdoor experience has been kayaking next to Aialik Glacier in Seward, AK. "We got to paddle through icebergs and visit one of the most beautiful glaciers I've ever seen!" Kristen says. Her preferred ways to experience nature are through hiking, camping, and biking!
When we asked Kristen if she feels like she has experienced any hardship or struggle outdoors, she shared, "sometimes it feels like if you’re not the most hardcore person out there then you don’t belong in the outdoors. But there are so many ways to get outdoors every day and there is no wrong way to be outdoorsy! Most days I spend outdoors are at the park with my son (which is also a great place to pick up trash!)" She continues by reflecting, "the outdoors world and social media love to highlight the big epic outdoor adventures, but most of us are doing lots of smaller outdoor adventures everyday and those mean just as much as the big adventures do! Sometimes I summit mountains but most of the time when I'm getting outdoors I'm at the playground with my son, doing a chill bike ride, or just walking on a trail by my house. Those adventures still get us outside and give us so much joy so they're definitely worth celebrating!"
Learn more about Kristen and her Wild Keeping below!
Keep Nature Wild: What are three things you would take if you were going to be stranded in the wilderness?
Kristen: Three things I'd take with me if I was going to be stranded in the forest would be a hammock, a good book, and a magical supply of pizza that would somehow never run out.
KNW: What kind of stay would you choose: tent, glamping, hotel or something else?!
K: I'd have to go with a backcountry cabin! You still get the camping/backpacking experience but you're protected from the elements, bears, and mosquitos.
KNW: What would you pick between forests, mountains or forests?
KNW: What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?
K: Making a difference in my community! I like to clean up my neighborhood, especially along the route that my son and I walk daily to get to the park. Seeing it clean and trash free makes me so happy because I know I’m making a difference for everyone else who goes to that park!
KNW: What has picking up trash outdoors done for you?
K: I’m honestly shocked by what people leave behind. The amount of alcohol cans and bottles along the roads is so sad. And this year there are so many masks! I think the hardest part is seeing trash in areas where there are trash cans. Even when it’s easy to throw away trash some people aren’t willing to make the effort to keep their parks and neighborhoods clean.
KNW: Roughly how many pounds do you think you've picked up since you became a Wild Keeper?
K: Probably 80!
KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)
K: To hike 52 hikes with my toddler on my back!