Meet Toyya Mahoneyusbr.gov - Toyya talks with a child participant during an outreach event.The Bureau of Reclamation’s mission is to manage, develop and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public. The people of Reclamation who make this mission a reality are some of the best and brightest in the world. Toyya Mahoney, an environmental protection specialist from Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region, is one of those people. Before joining the Reclamation team, Toyya worked at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area as a park ranger. She later transferred to Reclamation and became an Environmental Protection Specialist upon completion of her Pathways Program internship; a program for students and recent graduates. It wasn’t until Toyya reached the age of 19 that she experienced the joys of public lands and developed an appreciation for natural resources. She says, “It was the most influential opportunity ever for myself, my family and for my community, and it helped me realize the factors that influence visitation demographics -- something I hope to change and improve to make public lands more accessible for all people.” Each day provides something new. One day may include conducting historical research while others may involve researching public laws, or visiting Reclamation’s lands. She enjoys being able to create a balance between office and field work. In her current role, Toyya manages and coordinates outreach projects out of the LCR’s Resource Management Office. She is the coordinator of the LCR’s Catch A Special Thrill program which provides an opportunity for children with disabilities and disadvantages to learn how to fish. In addition, Toyya serves as the lead for Youth Conservation Corps projects consisting of land and river restoration initiatives in the LCR. To date, being the coordinator for the C.A.S.T. for Kids program has been Toyya’s most exciting and fulfilling project. “It provides me with the an opportunity to engage my passion of working with people who are disabled and/or disadvantaged, and to provide diverse, inclusive and accessible recreation opportunities to my community,” she says. 2018: The Year to Thrive -justacoloradogal.com - New years always bring about a gaggle of keyboard warriors, proclaiming that they don’t need to make resolutions. And that’s fine for many people, but personally, I often enjoy setting new goals for myself at the beginning of a calendar year. I like the clean slate that inherently comes with the turning of that calendar page. It makes it easier for me to hit the ground running. So to speak, of course. Because I’m still getting back into that whole running thing. See below for more details on that! Last year, I chose the word fearless to act as my mantra for 2017. And while I knew exactly what I was referencing at the time, I didn’t spill it all out in my post. Because that’s the trick with things we are scared of: it’s unnerving to make them public, especially on a blog like this. I knew there were a lot of big changes headed my way in 2017 and while I was confident they were what I wanted, I was still scared of what they meant and what they would bring to my life. Now that they have come to fruition, I’d like to spend 2018 ensuring that they thrive, that I thrive in all aspects of the word. Last January, we planned on trying to get pregnant in 2017. As any parent knows, that is a daunting thought to grow your family from two to three people. While we were confident that we wanted a child, it was still a bit intimidating. Of course, now that we’re in the early weeks of 2018 with a three-month-old beautiful and perfect baby girl, I can’t imagine life before her. But now is where the real work begins: We need to make sure that Liliana thrives and grows into a good person and quality human being. It’s no easy feat to create a good person, but I know Will and I are up for the task. Simultaneously, I welcomed 2017 knowing that I was in for a very intimidating career move. After a lifetime with my family’s business, I walked away at the end of September knowing that I likely was not returning. How’s that for terrifying? There were a few reasons of which I won’t go into, but two in particular that are pertinent here. First of all, I hoped to be home with our future child as much as possible, and I knew that would be difficult while running the family business in Denver. Secondly, I finally decided to make the leap and become a full-time freelance writer. For the past five years, I’ve been balancing two full-time jobs and something had to give, especially with a newborn in the house. I couldn’t keep working one job during the day, a second job at night, and somehow manage to keep a baby alive as well. It wasn’t realistic and frankly, sounded like a recipe for disaster. For 2018, I’m launching myself full-on into writing. Fortunately, I have many clients thanks to the past five years, so I’m not starting from scratch. But, our family is also accustomed to a certain salary and I just removed a large portion of my share when I walked away from our family business. My goal for 2018 is to pick up enough new clients that I offset that which I just left behind. Is it unnerving? Of course it is. But now I have the best of both world (for us): I get to work from home and when I need a babysitter (as is frequently the case), we head over to my parents’ house where Grandma and Grandpa hang out with Liliana while I work in their home office. Perfection. In that same vein, I have some fun news to share: I’m writing a second book that I’m over-the-moon excited about. I recently signed a contract with guidebook publisher Falcon for an idea I pitched last year. The book is an anthology of outdoor women with females from all over the industry: writers, photographers, advocates, pro athletes, CEOs, small business owners, and public speakers. Not only will they be sharing their stories, but there is also a hiking guidebook component too. This is a truly a passion project for me and I am so excited to spend 2018 working on it. I admire so many of these ladies and conducting these interviews is immensely rewarding. Tim White: How to fight nature-deficit disorderfayobserver.com - Tim White: How to fight nature-deficit disorder Saturday Jan 6, 2018 at 4:00 PM It happens every year around this time. I realize I'm much too housebound. I do what humans and animals instinctively do in the winter — I rest. No need to mow those no-longer-green acres. No need to clean the pool — it's closed up until spring. The last garden picking is done. The fruit trees need pruning, but that can be put off a bit longer. And I've also put off those long walks through the winter woods because until last weekend, the woods belonged to deer hunters and I wasn't about to venture out there with three large, brown dogs. But early Tuesday morning, the "super moon" shook me out of that winter daze. I awoke to the brilliant light shining through my bedroom window. It was almost like daylight, even though it was more than an hour before sunrise. I pulled on some clothes and set up a camera and a long lens on a tripod. Pulled on some boots and a parka and headed out the back door. I didn't realize until I went back inside for morning coffee that I'd been standing out in 7-degree weather, clicking away as I moved the tripod from place to place, trying to decide whether I wanted a formal portrait of the moon itself or to use it as a light to illuminate something else. I decided on the latter, published here with this column. The moon, the stars, even the early morning deep chill — all of it gave me a sense of awe. It connects us — if we want to be connected — with every man and woman who has come before us on this planet. It connects us with the animals, too. It's a deeper connection than we can find through the latest electronic gizmos, or videos, or music players. It predates even books. Our primitive ancestors who hunted game with spears and lived in caves saw the same super moons. They likely had the same sense of awe. Top Ten Posts from 2017 - Did you miss any?rockiesfamilyadventures.com - Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies Have child and have not slowed down! This blog seeks to chronicle the joys and challenges of taking kids hiking, camping, backpacking, skiing, biking, paddling and all-out exploring in the Canadian Rockies. Pages Monday, January 08, 2018 Top Ten Posts from 2017 - Did you miss any? I like to go back and look at my most popular stories from the past year, to reflect, and to get an idea of what you'd like to read more about in the coming year. Below are the most popular stories from 2017, purely based on the numbers and readership. I have not included any of the "Gotta do THIS" posts but have chosen to feature stand alone pieces only (also choosing to leave out posts with giveaways, or anything that was sponsored.) Top Ten Posts from 2017 Top Ten Posts from 2017 One. 5 Tips for Getting a Campsite without a Reservation So, a long weekend is coming, the forecast actually calls for sun (and not snow,) but you have no reservation. What do you do?? What do you do if you’ve dropped the ball though and you haven’t made a single reservation yet for the summer? Or what if you’re just not that kind of person who likes to plan ahead? Is there anything out there for the spontaneous individual who wants to play things by ear, watch the weather forecast, and pack up Thursday or Friday without a reservation made six months ago? 5 Tips for Getting a Campsite without a Reservation Two. Tips and Tricks for Downhill Skiing with Kids Every time we hit the ski hill as a family we learn something new or pick up a trick that would have made the day so much more easier, more enjoyable, and more fun. Each time we go skiing I feel a little more successful and I've decided that I'd like "More GOOD ski days" rather than just "more ski days." Tips and Tricks for downhill skiing with kids Three. Inja Nation! Calgary's Newest Adventure Park My family is what you'd call "weekend warriors." We live and work in Calgary but we escape the city most weekends, seeking out adventure in the nearby mountains. Some weekends however, it just isn't feasible to get away and we need to find an urban adventure to satisfy our inner warriors. Inja Nation Indoor Adventure Park, Calgary Four. Five Reasons for Families to Love Fernie Alpine Resort It was Sunday afternoon and I knew we only had time for a couple more runs down the mountain before we had to jump in the car and head back home to Calgary. The challenge was deciding which runs we should finish off with... Fernie is the hill that we never want to leave. It's the resort that always begs us to stay just a little longer, and that almost makes us think we should buy season passes next year, making the trek down into BC at least once a month. Skiing at Fernie Alpine Resort, BC Five. Calgary Spring Break Challenge - Can you Try Something New? I recently met a family at a climbing gym in Calgary and the mom told me about their goal of trying one new thing each month. This resonated with me because I also like to try new things on a regular basis. So far this year, I've tried fat biking and I returned to rock climbing after a ten year break. What "new activity" could you try with your kids this March during spring break? And it could be as simple as visiting a new playground or trying a new hiking trail. Spring Break Challenge - Try Something New Six. Hossa National Park, Finland: Is this the most unspoiled wilderness in Europe?telegraph.co.uk - “Sssh!” At the crunch of an apple, my wife and I hissed a reflex rebuke. My daughter froze mid-bite, glared at us, then replaced the offending fruit with theatrical care on a shelf. Bears, we had been warned, are very shy. One noise could have scuppered the night’s viewing. We were two hours into an all-night vigil in the Paradise Hide, a simple structure resembling a garden shed in a Finnish forest clearing. From a wooden bench inside, we peered out towards the distant treeline. The flapping of ravens around an island of spruces revealed the location of the bait – a pig carcass. No bears had yet appeared but there was plenty of daylight left and a full moon in prospect. Fingers were firmly crossed. There are few places in Europe where you can still eyeball a large carnivore in the wild. Centuries of human progress – replacing the primal forests with farmland and cities – has banished the likes of bears and wolves to the continent’s wildest corners. The province of Karelia, along Finland’s eastern border with Russia, is one such corner. Fittingly, it is also Finland’s spiritual heartland: the setting for its national epic poem, the Kalevala, and scene of the heroic resistance to Russian invasion during the brutal “Winter war” of 1939-1940. Our fortnight’s tour had begun three days earlier when we’d collected our hire car in the central city of Kajaani. The flight north from Helsinki had revealed the kind of landscape we could expect: a carpet of trees rolling out to every horizon, broken only by the glint of the lakes which, according to our guidebook, number 180,000 nationwide. We eased into forest life with a brief stay at Club Katinkulta, where Finns flock for their summer holidays, cycling the wooded trails between spa and chalet and trying out some husky sledding. From there it was a two-hour drive east to the log cabins of Erä-Eero, the first of three wildlife-watching centres on our itinerary. Over karjalanpiirakkas (Karelian pasties), our young host Heine Otronen briefed us on hide protocol before driving us out to our wooden box for the night and settling us in. “Lock the door behind you,” she said, then disappeared into the trees. Once we were in situ, the silence soon became all-consuming. The cronk of the ravens and occasional screech of a jay were the forest’s only voices, and the longer we went without talking the more the urge receded. Lost in this Zen-like communion with the trees, the sudden appearance of a wolverine took us by surprise. This stocky animal, the largest of the weasel clan, may be notorious for its ferocity but is also notoriously elusive, so our ringside view was a serious privilege. We watched as it worried at the bait stashed behind a boulder then trotted back the way it had come, posing picturesquely on a fallen log. Later, just as we were beginning to unroll our sleeping bags, my wife spied the spectral forms of two wolves in the mist along the lakeshore. They kept their distance and soon vanished as silently as they’d appeared. Indeed, the following morning, as the rumble of Heine’s approaching truck heralded our return to camp, I wondered whether they had been apparitions: the ghosts of Europe past. That had been two nights ago. Now here we were in the Paradise Hide at Kuikka – our second bear-watching centre, a morning’s drive north of Erä-Eero. After two hours of drizzle with little to show but a bedraggled pied wagtail, the tension was rising. We needn’t have worried. Kuikka turned out to be brown bear central. The first to appear was a female, leading out her two youngsters from the forest. They settled down to forage, all furry backsides and muscled, seesaw shoulders. More followed. Over the next four hours we notched up a total of eight. We watched them feeding, playing and – when a grumpy old male arrived – facing off. At times they passed right behind our hide, which had us glancing at the flimsy lock. 11 Critical Items for Your Bug Out Bag (Plus BOB Reviews)bugoutbagacademy.com - One of the many privileges we have here at Bug Out Bag Academy is being able to watch the latest trends, examine and review the latest products, and then recommend only the best quality bug out bag essentials to you. Thanks to you, as one of the leading websites in emergency preparedness and survival education, we’re introduced to new and exciting innovations in survival and emergency preparedness on a weekly, if not daily basis. But as you probably know by now, we don’t really get caught up in all the hype of such gadgets unless it’s truly warranted. Sometimes, a “wheel is just a wheel,” so to speak, and there isn’t much need for improvement. And because of this, we always tell it like it is so that you don’t get caught up in all the hype either. Like previous years, we promise this coming year will be no different. We’ll continue to comb through various products and items, both new and old, and recommend only the best bug out bag items that you should consider including in your emergency kit as well. To get started we’ll discuss some of the best bags in quality, functionality and durability that exist on the market and then we’ll explore some “must have” items for every bug out bag to fit most situations. Here are the three bags we recommend for their versatility, durability, and overall design and functionality. Condor Outdoor has been creating quality outdoor gear for 20 years and is recognized throughout the military and law enforcement community for their innovative outdoor and tactical gear. Condor is known for combining the most modern designs with battle tested durability and the Mission pack is no exception. The Condor Mission pack offers a generous main compartment for storing larger items including a built-in bladder pocket. The multiple interior mesh pockets offer ideal carry for all sorts of items while allowing for quick visibility, which means no more searching inside your pack. Condor Outdoor is one of the, if not the, best choice at this price point for those looking for reliability without sacrificing quality. 5.11 Tactical is yet another leading and proven provider of tactical gear and accessories. The 5.11 RUSH 24 pack is one of their most popular choices for an ideal bug out bag. The spacious main compartment offers three interior mesh pockets to keep small accessories organized, a padded hydration pocket and a fleece-lined pocket keeps your eyewear within easy reach. Dual side storage compartments offer double-zip access, a large stuff-it pocket with an integrated draw cord provides expandable storage when you need it. The RUSH 24 combines superior enhanced storage with customizable functionality. Since founded in the early 2000’s, Maxpedition has quickly gained a name for itself as a reliable and quality brand. The Vulture-II™ 3-Day Backpack is designed for hauling lots of gear. 2800 cubic inches of carry capacity, 3 generous compartments, and a wide bottom design; this is the backpack to hold it all.The Vulture II holds true to the Maxpedition ergonomic standard and comes equipped with comfortable back padding, curvaceous backpack straps, and concealable chest & waist straps. Yes, it a costs a little bit more than other bags on the market, but in our opinion, you get what you pay for with this bag. Now that you’ve seen the three bug out bag packs we recommend, let’s begin filling it up with a few of the particular items you might find yourself needing in an emergency situation. In our opinion, one Lifestraw (or more) in your bug out bag is a “must-have.” This compact and lightweight device is excellent for emergency water filtration and is ideal for hiking, backpacking, camping, travel, and emergency preparedness scenarios. As one of the most affordable and reliable emergency water filters on the market, this will filtrate up to 1,000 liters of water and remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria.Excellent portable water filter Filters up to 1000 liters Removes 99.