Hi, my name is Cian. I am 12 years old and currently in 6th grade.  I live in California. This is my second year as a National Park Trust Student Ambassador. I first visited a national park when I was just 4 years old. I did the Junior Ranger Program and was obsessed. After that first visit, my mom and I visited all the national park sites around us in Southern California and began seeking them out wherever we went.

I love spending time camping, hiking, backpacking, and bike riding in our national parks. I also love taking photos of all the animals I see. I have been to 28 national parks and 18 national monuments with hope to visit many more in the coming years.

Usually, I just day hike in national parks, but this past summer I backpacked the John Muir Trail (JMT) with my mom. The JMT is a 210-mile trail through Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks. The trail also goes through the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses. 

The JMT was super fun because I was able to hike through the backcountry experiencing areas of these national parks that I never knew existed. I got to go fishing every day, see unique animals like marmots and pikas, and camp in some of the most beautiful places. The best part of the trip was getting to summit Mt. Whitney, the tallest point in the contiguous US.           

Besides spending time in the national parks, I try to get outdoors as much as I can. It makes me happy to be in nature, listening to the sounds, looking for wildlife, and learning about the different plants. 

Speaking of plants, I love volunteering with local organizations that promote native flora. I am even a volunteer supervisor with Tree People where I help plant California natives in former burn areas.

I have learned so much from my visits to the national parks through ranger talks and the Junior Ranger program. This is why I feel it is so important to protect the parks. If we don’t preserve the unique trees, amazing canyons, and awesome wildlife, they will not be here for future generations to see and learn about.

You can follow me on my blog below and on Instagram at @outdoorswithcian where I share more about plants, my hiking adventures, and all things outdoors!