A note from Maman on the Trail:
Meet Risha, a human of the outdoors. Risha lives near the beautiful coast of southern Oregon in the US and get outdoors with her husband, their 4-year old son, Milo, and their dog, Pi. Here is her story…
On her time outdoors…
My husband and I are always trying to model good behaviors for my son and so out on our walks at the park, beach or even between the car and the store, if we spot a piece of litter we pick it up. To get my son outside during the colder winter months, I attached a dog leash to one of his toy recycling trucks so that we could take it to collect the lost litter on the side of the road. We live near the coast and I’m always trying to get my son to the beach to play. These three things, combined with my past experiences working in seabird colonies and seeing the impact that marine conservation can have on wildlife, inspire me to keep getting out there.
My son is becoming a great hiking and litter-seeking partner. My husband, a scientist turned teacher, is an avid hiker and catches up with us as much as he can after work. Our dog, Pi, acts as though the beach is the home she never had – doing those special “dog zoomies” as soon as her paws touch the sand.
On redefining their time outdoors…
My 4-year old and I use his toy trucks to hunt for litter! We get out two or three times a week for a couple hours at a time. It is engaging for both of us in a scavenger hunt sort of way with the added perk of giving back to nature and the places we love. We have found some interesting things and have just started posting videos of our outings to our YouTube channel in a kids’ show format. I’m hopeful that as my camera and story skills improve, we will find a bigger audience and maybe inspire others to pick up litter while they are out playing in nature.
We seem to find a lot of toy pieces among the plastic and almost always one shoe.
Using our trucks to collect litter has been a fresh winter project for us. The wild edibles that we usually try to spot are dormant in the winter, the animals less abundant, and the litter more prominent. Litter hunting/beach combing with trucks has been a fun combination of Milo’s and my own interests and helps get us outdoors more. Milo can pull his truck along load it up with his kitchen tongs while we walk or load it while I pull. I found that we engage more in the game of trucks when we are playing outside with real litter than when inside playing with pretend litter.
We are usually in a different part of the beach than most people and have our eyes trained on the sand, scouring for cool finds so we don’t have a lot conversations about what we’re doing…but Milo loves to tell people about our YouTube channel whenever he has a chance: at the beach, at the grocery store, at the hardware store, on the phone to Nana…I don’t know if we’ve inspired anyone but I hope that we have.
On raising a wild child…
Our son, Milo, asks to go outdoors when the weather is nice, lol. When the weather is less than sunny and warm, Milo’s dad or I try to be the catalyst to get us outdoors. We try to keep an eye out for new ways to enjoy and to brave the torrential winter rains of the west coast.
We’ve been backpacking, hiking and camping and naming things in nature with our son since he was born and he has developed a love for camping, searching for things like wild edibles and watching animals. We usually have a toy or two with us though to play with too and try to do as many indoors activities as we can outdoors to blur the lines to keep nature from becoming separate from everyday life.
A little Q & A…
Q: What is your go-to adventure snack?
A: Fresh fruits & veggies or LäraBars*.
Q: What piece of gear do you never leave the house without?
A: A Camelbak*, tongs and a toy truck
Q: What is your favourite nature quote, and who said it first?
A: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Q: What one piece of advice would you share with someone who is wary of or new to the outdoors?
A: Search the web, blogs and social media platforms for fresh ideas or new activities and inspiration.
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