Short stories told by our ambassadors. Each week a different prompt!
Grab some coffee - Grab a seat
What is your first memory of being outside in nature?
Being from the small town of Cleveland (Wisconsin not Ohio), nature was your backyard. With an acre of open space, the only obstacle that contained us was our fence of evergreen trees. Our lawn had an annual monsoon, which turned it into our own private wading pool. No lines, no kids stealing your toys (except my sisters), and we only had to walk 20 feet for mud and worms! A kid’s dream! While my mom didn’t appreciate the mess we made when we came into the house, she did come to enjoy the occasional worm entrees we made for her. Times have changed and our natural pool was replaced by an artificial pool, but I did learn the most important lesson running through that flooded field. Never throw mud at your sisters! - Alex
I grew up in a ‘go outside and play’ household so I was always outdoors as a child. I spent my days building forts, exploring the woods or talking to the woodland creatures. When I lived in VA, around age 8, there was a creek down the road from our house. One day I saw a very cool looking snake. It had reddish brown markings and an arrow shaped head. I thought it was so cool that I needed to show my dad, so I picked it up and carried it home. He was in the garage as usual and I very proudly showed him my new find. He swiftly kicked a bucket across the floor and told me to set it down gently. He covered the bucket with some wood and told me to follow him. We went inside to my father's large collection of National Audubon Society Field Guides. He gave me the Reptiles Field Guide, which I still have today, and told me to read it. And this, friends, is how I learned to properly identify copperheads.
Behind my house runs a creek with a little island in it. I remember one day crossing a fallen log to explore this island as a little kid with my younger brother. On the island we discovered a pretty big tree, especially to us, being just little kids at the time. Fascinated by this tree, I wanted to climb up and see if I could look further up the creek or above the woods to see my house. I started off by jamming my hand into a spot where the trunk forks and then pulling myself up. As I pulled up, I looked into the fork and inside it was a litter of raccoon kits. For that reason we decided to call the island ‘Coon Island,’ and to this day the name holds. - Ethan
My first memories in nature revolve around 2 canoeing trips with my parents. On the first trip I was pretty young, and we were paddling on the Wisconsin river downstream from my house. While in the canoe my dad decided to stand up to adjust his pants. My mom quickly yelled at him to sit down, but unfortunately it was too late. We proceeded to flip, and I'm pretty sure my mom didn't talk to my dad for the rest of the trip. The other memory comes from a multi-day trip on the Flambeau River in Wisconsin. It was my first real whitewater trip, and while the memories are a little fuzzy, I remember my brother and uncle getting beached in the middle of a rapid. We had to frantically take everything out of the boat to get the boat off the rocks. It was crazy to me what we were doing, but in retrospect, the maybe class two rapids probably weren't all that scary.