Tracks and Roots has been many years in the making. The seed was planted when I was 17 years old and knew simply that I wanted to spend my life in the woods, studying nature, writing, and practicing survival skills.

Perhaps my dream wasn’t concrete enough since my parents insisted I give college a try. They couldn’t imagine me hiding away in the woods rather than solving pressing environmental problems.

At 17, I knew enough to know I didn’t know enough, so I went to Virginia Tech . . . but I did it my way.

My first week, I searched and found two amazing mentors, Bill Sydor and Michael Blackwell, plus a group of college students to practice skills with. They taught me nature awareness exercises and ways to learn more efficiently. Bill had an extensive library for me to peruse.

And they helped keep me accountable. “Did you go to your sit spot this week? What did you see? Have you found any tracks lately? Do you know this plant?”

I studied hard until I could identify all the trees in Virginia, then all the birds by sight and all animal tracks in sand or mud. The wildflowers took longer since most are seasonal, but I kept a journal and drew every new plant I saw.

By the end of those 4 years, I knew most of the wildlife in Virginia and also something even more valuable – how to learn quickly.

After college, I found a job in environmental policy with the idea to help the environment while also saving up money to pursue my passion more. As the years passed, I spent more and more time indoors and my connection to nature decreased. 

After the birth of my first daughter, I panicked. I became terrified I’d never actually follow my dream. I went back to work and saved up money. After a year, I finally took that first leap into pursuing my passion. The idea of Tracks and Roots was formed.

Reconnecting people to nature is a vital part of healing ourselves, our community, and the world. The reality is we cannot save what we do not care about and many of our problems today are due to apathy and ignorance.

I’m hoping to help turn the tide towards more widespread knowledge of the natural world and help people find their way back outdoors, improving their health and well-being.

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