Wild Keeper Spotlight: The Kemp Family

Wild Keeper Spotlight: The Kemp Family

Meet our Wild Keeper Family - the Kemp Family! Felicia and her family have been Wild Keepers for two terms now and are based in Sacramento, California. Felicia first was introduced to the outdoors through her father and his deep love for nature. She shared that he was a true outdoorsman - "he loved hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. He taught us about the animal tracks on the ground and how to distinguish birds in the sky. We were a very involved scouting family and traveling around his country to see its natural beauty and sleep under the stars was what we did for vacation." Since then, she's found a passion for hiking and bringing her family along, too! The area she loves to explore the most, locally, is around Northern California.

Some hardships Felicia shared that her and her family have faced is being a plus-sized hiker in the outdoor space sharing, "what's actually harder than any physical exertion as a plus-sized hiker can be availability of technical gear in your size (improving, but still women are often wearing men's clothing to find their size, especially if the brand uses a "women's cut") and the assumptions and judgement of others. I'll stop myself to check to see if I'm just internalizing something someone said or did, but often it's objectively biased."

Another experience she wants to raise awareness around is having a hypotonic child - she shared, "this led us to having a greater awareness of the hurdles of exploring the outdoors for others. For a long time we could wear Grayson but at a certain size and weight he needed durable medical equipment, often referred to as a mobility stroller (wheelchair). Looking for truly accessible paths can be a challenge and I'm thankful that today there are more and more resources and organizations striving to meet the needs of many."

A concept she is really passionate about and wants more people to hear is focusing on hiking your own hike. By that she expresses, "it's okay for it to be whatever it is for you - we don't have to all sprint to the top of a mountain, or only qualify something as a hike if it has a minimum number of miles. You can backpack for days or go on a child's nature walk. You can enjoy hiking in the snowy cold or only when it's moderate temperatures under shade. So long as you're trying to respect others and working to adhere to Leave No Trace principles, it really is all your own, whatever that means for you."

An experience that has really shaped her relationship with nature is heat exhaustion. She shared that experiencing heat exhaustion taught her to not to get complacent - even the most seasoned hiker can find themselves in a pinch.

One thing she'd love to recommend more people look into is joining local groups that focus on getting everyone outside. 

Learn more about Felicia and her experience as a Wild Keeper below!

Keep Nature Wild: What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?
Felicia: The community!!

KNW: What has picking up trash outdoors done for you? 
F: It has now become a habit

KNW: Roughly how many pounds do you think you've picked up since you became a Wild Keeper?
F: 120 pounds!

KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)
F: My hiking book by @moonguides will be published!


Reading next

Wild Keeper Spotlight: Wendy G.
Wild Keeper Spotlight: Laurie

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