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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Staff Thoughts: Memories of the Wilderness and How It Shapes Us

Posted by Lisa Syravong

It is officially summer and as a working adult, I find myself feeling envious of children in my neighborhood who officially started their summer vacation this week. While I’m not quite ready to quit my day job and return to studying Algebra, I’m reminded of the simplicity and excitement of summer as a child.

Growing up in the NW, my parents, brother and I spent a lot of time outdoors, hiking and camping in the summer as a family, hiking on Cascade Head on the Oregon Coast, and camping high in the Cascades at Waldo Lake. We had leisurely summers of canoeing with our family friends, searching for the last patch of snow on top of Mary’s Peak near the Coastal Range of Oregon, and hiking in Silver Falls State Park. This conscientious effort on the part of my parents, to expose us to a variety of outdoor activities, shaped us into the adults that we have become today - one who enjoys mountain climbing on tall peaks, surfing and taking risks, and one who would much prefer having their feet in the sand at sea level, or hiking on a wilderness path, miles from any ravine. Despite our differences and needs for adrenaline, we both have an appreciation for the opportunities that we had as children and how they have shaped our adult lives.

As a parent, I am now beginning to share such experiences with my family and our toddler. As she grows, I want her to have similar experiences with nature, a sense of awe while sitting in a stand of old growth trees, and a respect for all things wild - wildlife, wild forests and wild rivers. By experiencing such places, we develop intrinsic values that shape our system of values and beliefs. Outdoor adventures also offer an opportunity to share similar hobbies with friends and family and to create a sense of gratitude that we are so blessed with local places in which we can experience nature, all within a short drive of our home.

As a challenge to each of you, I would like to invite you to share experiences from your childhood, or even as an adult of favorite summer places, perhaps a funny story or your first encounter with nature on this blog. It is only by inspiring others that we will encourage others to break away from daily life and to get outdoors.

Lisa Syravong is the Membership & Communications Manager for Washington Wilderness

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. I grew up in an age when parents told us to "go outside and play" and did not worry about seeing us until supper time. Many of my summer days were spent, from age 10 and up, wandering the nearby fields and small woods that farmers kept, studying the flock of buzzards or the crawdads, and marvelling at the changes in nature as the season progressed.