written by: Kelley V Phillips, outreach coordinator
Meet Helen, a high-spirited and imaginative 11-year old who loves being outdoors. Each morning, she and her brother Peter go for a walk– though towards the end it becomes a sprint to their back door. While he is older, Helen says they are pretty evenly matched in the race. “Usually I’m the one jumping the bushes,” she mischievously elaborated. Afternoons, they play energetic games like freeze tag or ones they make up like Golden Snitch, a variation on capture-the-flag.
Helen is a natural climber, earning the nickname “mountain goat” from her Dad. During a floor-is-lava game on the playground, she can effortlessly scramble above the ground. Someday soon she hopes to go to a bouldering park in Colorado. “I love having to figure out how to get up there,” she says referring to giant rocks. Her favorite hiking trail is a rocky path leading up to a broken arch at Red River Gorge near Lexington, KY. She especially likes exploring nooks and crannies made in the alcoves between boulders.
Since September of 2019, Helen has been a Wildlife Warrior. This nature learning program created by BSU and Red-tail Land Conservancy allows her to know more about the animal kingdom. “I like being able to expand my look at animals because when I’m on my own I really only focus on birds,” she explained. Adding, “I want to be an ornithologist when I grow up!” When asked about her love of birds, she mused on their unique ability to fly.
Like the freedom birds have in flight, Helen thrives in the unconstrained spaces of nature. When she starts to feel like a room is stuffy, she takes “movement breaks” like singing and dancing vigorously. But in her perfect world, “It’s sunny with a little bit of breeze and I can just run around and do whatever I want!”
Energetic by nature, Helen approaches each day with curiosity. As a Wildlife Warrior and budding ornithologist, her desire to learn is evident. As an articulate and optimistic young woman, her love of exploration is promising.