Meet second term Wild Keeper Taylor, who is based in Tucson, Arizona! Taylor got into nature as a kid with her family, who did a lot of camping. She said, "as I got older I’ve found outdoor recreation to be quite therapeutic." Her preferred way to get outside is through hiking on both new and familiar trails! We know how impactful outdoor spaces are, so we asked her what her most memorable experience has been so far, to which she said, "my most memorable hike was me conquering one of Tucson’s most challenging trails. I was still new to hiking when I first attempted it and realized I needed to gain more endurance and start with a few easier trails first. It’s a 6 mile out and back trail with an elevation gain of 1685 feet. I had finished the hike in heat of the summer and am still proud of myself to this day!"
When we asked Taylor if she felt like she has faced any adversity in outdoor spaces she shared, "I am quite fortunate that I have not, I understand that’s something to be grateful for. I am currently seeking a degree in Outdoor Education and would love to help create and implement more inclusive programs into outdoor recreation."
Learn more about Taylor and her wild keeping efforts below!
Keep Nature Wild: If you were going to be stranded in the forest, what three items would you take?
Taylor: If I could only take three things with me for survival I’d take a tarp, rope, and a knife. Other not so realistic items that were given heavy consideration were a life supply of peanut M&M’s, my hammock, and Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
KNW: If you were able to stay in a tent, cabin or hotel (or something else!) what would you choose?
T: A cabin! That’s the dream, a cabin in the woods!
KNW: Which would you pick between forests, mountains or desert?
KNW: What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?
T: Hands down watching people come together to do good. This community is amazing. There is an immense amount of encouragement and support. It’s been a huge impact in my life being surrounded by this proactive community!
KNW: What has picking up trash outdoors done for you?
T: It’s completely shifted my perspective upon seeing trash where it doesn’t belong. It always frustrated me, however, I saw it as not my trash, not my problem. Now, I feel like I spot trash a mile away. It’s still not my trash, but if I don’t pick it up then who will? It’s been a huge growing experience for me as I look at towards the future of our planet. Picking up trash has also encouraged my students to see litter in a whole new light, too. They are so proactive and love cleaning up after litterbugs!
KNW: Roughly how many pounds do you think you've picked up since you became a Wild Keeper?
T: 85-90 pounds!
KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)
T: Not only pick up more trash, but also educate others on WHY this is a need and how they can help in their community. Whether it be schools, local playgrounds, neighborhoods, or trails. I hope to encourage others to help preserve our natural spaces.