Young Kate by the water.

As you can imagine, as a child my relationship with the outdoors was simple. I liked being outside. I could be at the playground, riding my bike, or playing with my friends for hours at a time without even noticing that a minute had passed. These childhood experiences were essential for my growth and development into who I am today. Without constant outdoor exposure, I would’ve never been able to cultivate my love for the natural environment that I have today. 

Despite the simple nature of my feelings towards the outdoors back then, it still had the capacity for turning me into a reflective and observant person. It motivated me to be outside every day and as I grew older, my thoughts and realizations about the world around me became more complex. I noticed the changing seasons and questioned why they occurred. I observed birds flying to their nests and wondered where they went in the winter. It was thoughts like these that allowed me to delve deeper into my interest in the environment, that made me yearn for knowledge and understanding. 

These feelings only grew stronger as I began more frequent national travel. The smoke in Montana taught me about the forest fires ravaging nearby towns, while the floods in Louisiana showed me that natural disasters can be unpredictable. Through exposure to environmental issues, my passion for mitigating these issues arose. I found myself taking classes, joining leadership groups, and getting involved in local organizations in order to not only learn more. but to also do what I could to help solve these problems. The urgency I felt for the places I held so dearly to me allowed me to realize how grateful I am for the natural world. 

Today, I still have the same childlike love for the environment. My curiosity and wonder about the world around me has been preserved, while my devotion to preserving the natural world has only been amplified. As the outdoors change, I can only predict that my relationship with it will as well. Entering college, I plan on pursuing environmental science to learn more about the world around us, as well as what I can do to protect it. Like the wildfires in the west or the hurricanes on the coast, I cannot predict yet what will come of my future career, but I am certain that my fascination with Earth will never dwindle.