Meet Wild Keeper Selena! They are based in Tucson, Arizona and have been a Wild Keeper since the summer of 2021. Selena grew up hiking and biking with their Dad in the mountains in the town they grew up in called Magdalena de Kino, Sonora. Selena shares, "it was always such a fun time filled with happy memories and I always felt so connected to nature after each outing. Every time I am out and about I am brought back to happy childhood memories."
They also shared that any outside time they can build into their day is deeply cherished - no matter what avenue it is! Things that have shaped Selena's love for nature include seeing wildlife out in nature sharing that "it is always just a HUGE WOW factor and really makes me feel so connected to nature and why I love keeping nature wild for the amazing creatures we get to share this land with."
Selena reflected to us that "for someone “young” I have some physical issues that prevent me from hiking a lot or even just bending over. There are times where I’d love to go out more than once or twice a month but due to chronic pain I really have to plan how often I can go out. When I am able to go out I have to endure my pain either due to my knee, my gastric issues, or my carpal tunnel symptoms which can be very limiting which is also why I clean in my neighborhood as opposed to going to a park." Selena also confided that trash grabbers are challenging because they demand a lot of wrist strength that makes their carpal tunnel pain worse and can last for more than a day after. "I try to focus on the positive and enjoy the time I am outside since I rarely get to go outside due to my work schedule working from home," they share.
Selena also gave us a look into how it feels to be non-binary around wanting to be outdoors, but it not always feeling safe. "Although I am non-binary, others see a woman which instills a lot of fear when cleaning by myself because my neighborhood is not the safest. One of the dirtiest places is near a really active but badly lit avenue. It’s been a goal of mine to clean it more often but I’m so limited due to physical pain, my work schedule, and because I don’t want to go out there alone. I feel safer cleaning with my partner who is 6’5” but we have very different work schedules which makes things a bit more complicated to make time to clean. Sometimes I clean with my mom which makes me feel safe too but my mom lives in Mexico so she is not always here."
Learn more about Selena and their Wild Keeping below!
Keep Nature Wild: If you had to choose between mountains, forests or deserts, which would you choose?
KNW: What is your favorite adventure snack?
S: Seaweed and cashews!
KNW: What is one thing you'd love to bring more awareness to in the outdoor space?
S: That anyone can take the time to remove a bit of trash and make a difference! You feel better about your action and you’re making the earth better at the same time! It’s important to remember that these are shared spaces with humans and animals, so working to keep it clean little by little goes a long way!
KNW: What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?
S: I love making a difference in my neighborhood and helping maintain it. The side of town I live in tends to be neglected by the city, so taking matters into my own hands is one way I am making a difference.
KNW: What has picking up trash outdoors done for you?
S: It’s my time to be grateful and give back to nature in my own special way. After each clean up I feel refreshed myself and super motivated in all aspects of life. It’s like a reset for me mentally. When I was younger I always worried when I saw trash in nature but never thought I could do something about it. Becoming a Wild Keeper has opened my eyes and changed my perspective to make a difference!
KNW: Roughly how many pounds do you think you've picked up since you became a Wild Keeper?
S: Definitely over 273!
KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)
S: Go out more than once each month to pick up trash and maybe organize a pickup!