Jackson, WY dream
While sleeping in Jackson, Wyoming I found my passion for environmentalism. I first traveled to Jackson in 2008 with my seventh grade class on a two week long camping trip. I immediately felt at peace when I arrived surrounded by the Teton Mountains and that crisp blue sky. My class stayed four days and I wish I could relive every single one. Jackson was the first, and farthest, place I had ever traveled to without my family. That camping trip to Jackson changed me and it forced me to learn how to be scared and how to grow in ways that would make me a stronger person. Each day we were there we had guides to take us on hikes and to teach us about the ecosystems. I was fascinated by how mountains were formed and how to identify one tree species from another. Being there with my graduating class of forty helped bring our community even closer to one another, as if being on a two-week long camping trip wasn’t enough to bring a group of strangers together.
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I was growing in ways I thought I wasn’t capable of. I was so young, and yet I felt more grounded than ever. I knew that I had found my path in life. I knew that visiting Jackson, Wyoming sparked a passion in me that simply could not be put out. And four years later I can proudly say that that flame still burns bright. I still get giddy when talking about environmental policy and I still dream of those Teton Mountains every night praying that one day I will return to them. These days I express my passion for nature through volunteering in my community garden as garden manager every summer, being a member of the YEA! MN Steering Committee under the Will Steger Foundation, as well as being the leader of the green team at my school.
When I returned to Jackson with my family in the summer of 2009 the mountains, the culture, and the people were as beautiful as I had remembered. My family spent five days in Jackson and they were some of the best days of my life. I told my family about my adventures in Jackson and they could clearly see the joy in my eyes. To have found my passion in life is the most motivating and inspiring thing that could ever happen to me. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll change my mind about environmentalism, but when I think of spending the rest of my life trying to protect the Earth I can’t help but get shivers down my spine. It moves my soul and traveling to Jackson, Wyoming helped show me how important community, sustainability, and protecting our environment is to me.