Wild Keeper Spotlight: Wendy G.

Wild Keeper Spotlight: Wendy G.

Meet Wild Keeper, Wendy! Summer term of this year is her first term as a Wild Keeper and she is based in sunny San Diego. Her home base area to explore is near Julian, in the Cleveland National Forest. She stated, "aside from the quaint little town there with their infamous apple pie, there’s lots of wonderful hiking trails and it’s a beautiful place to explore in most weather! It’s the only place really to find snow in San Diego, so that’s awesome too."

Wendy was introduced to the outdoors when we were locked up during the 2020 quarantine. She shared, "I started going out for neighborhood walks and then discovered some MTB trails near where my parents lived, and my love of the outdoors really blossomed after that. I started going on road trips, solo and with friends, and started seeing National Parks — I had never really experienced being outside like that before. I grew up mostly metropolitan, visiting big cities for museums and other arts-related activities."

Since then, she shares that her favorite ways to connect with nature are by
 hiking and road-tripping equally, although she tends to go hiking more than she goes on trips.

When asked about any hardships or challenges in regards to the outdoor industry or space, Wendy reflected, "I think the only real challenge has been just kind of learning about the National Parks and planning visits to go to them on my own. My parents immigrated to San Diego from Mexico before I was born, and they’d both spent the majority of their adult lives in Mexico City, which is obviously different from San Diego in a lot of ways, but I didn’t grow up camping or anything like that. It’s been interesting learning what I like and don’t like, and trying to experience an entirely new lifestyle."

She also wanted to bring awareness to the fact that there are endless opportunities to create and find inspiration through nature. "Aside from the obvious, like remembering to “pack in and pack out” and doing my part to “leave no trace” — as a practicing artist myself, I like to share with friends and colleagues of mine the endless opportunities there are for art-making in outdoor situations. A big majority of National Parks, for example, offer artist residencies to folks with a creative practice, and it’s a great way to not only highlight one’s love for the outdoors, but to inspire people to get creative and make art in these beautiful places. Even more locally, Anza Borrego hosts an annual Plein Air invitational for landscape artists who paint from life in the open air. It’s just such a great way to combine my two favorite things: nature and art," she expressed. 

We love this and hope everyone looks into these opportunities if you are an artist as well! 

An experience that has really shaped her relationship and connection with the outdoors was Joshua Tree National Park. She shared, "m
y first time going to Joshua Tree was in October of 2020 — I was supposed to go with a friend but ended up just making a solo-trip out of it, and I got to take my paints with me and make art after exploring some short trails. After that, I kind of realized I could do anything I wanted with the proper amount of planning, and that trip really inspired so many others in the years since."

Something she wanted to put a spotlight on is about prescribed burns. She relayed, "this was a technique originally developed by the original caretakers of the land. A lot of indigenous tribes practiced controlled burning, and it’s something the National Parks Service team has taken into account, with land management practices, etc. If you follow certain NPS pages on instagram, they’ll share in advance when they’re planning on shutting down an area temporarily for a “controlled burn”. In that regard, always practice proper fire safety!"

Learn a little bit more about Wendy and her experience as a Wild Keeper below! 

Keep Nature Wild: 
What is your favorite thing about being a Wild Keeper?

Wendy: I really like feeling like I’m making a difference, even if it’s a small one. Get enough of us together, even if we’re scattered throughout the country, and we can make a bigger impact!

KNW: What has picking up trash outdoors done for you? 

W: Picking up trash outdoors has definitely opened my eyes to how wasteful we can be. There are so many unnecessary pieces of plastic or aluminum or styrofoam packaging, and I think as a society, we could benefit from better recycling practices.

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

W: Between 7-10 by now, probably!

KNW: What goals do you have for this year? (or beyond?)

W: It would be cool to be able to pick up, say, 20 lbs before the year ends. Maybe picking up between 50-60 lbs in an entire year would be a great goal, and probably a good one to set for next year!


Reading next

July 2023 Impact Report
Wild Keeper Spotlight: The Kemp Family

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