Straight Talk: The Superfan

We usually profile a big-name athlete or luminary in this department, but this issue we wanted to find out what makes the typical Elevation Outdoors reader tick. We looked across the state, but it turned out that one of our most faithful readers was right under our noses here in Boulder (full confession, he’s my neighbor). Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey and his family always show up at EO community events, including our Boulder Creek Cleanup with Front Range Anglers and our group campout and trail maintenance day with the U.S. Forest Service this summer. Osborne-Gowey, 41, grew up in southern Oregon, the son of a logger, and an accountant, and moved to Colorado with his family—wife Cat and children, Finn, 11, and little Jeremiah, 7—in 2014 to pursue an interdisciplinary PhD in environmental studies (he holds degrees in fisheries and wildlife and public policy). He describes himself as a Renaissance man: homebrewer, forager, passionate fly and tenkara angler, boatbuilder, default statistician, blogger, Tweeter, community organizer and so much more. Here’s what he had to say about being named our superfan.

What do you love about Elevation Outdoors magazine?

The feature articles cover such varied topics and interests, all relevant to our connection to the outdoors and each other. I love “The Trail” column for the nuts-and-bolts tips on local places to go exploring and the ViewRanger downloadable trail maps (these are the best). And how can I forget all the great gear reviews? Strange as it may sound, I also love the advertisements for all the great local events. I find so many events to attend just from skimming the magazine for these ads.

Our whole family enjoys reading the down-to-earth, practical articles packed full of insights and tips. Often when exploring, we find ourselves adding places along the path as a result of having read about them in EO. Case in point, we’re headed to see the Great American Eclipse of 2017 in the northwest corner of the Nebraska panhandle. We would have never thought to vacation in Nebraska were it not for an excellent EO piece about places to go exploring there. And we love the socially and environmentally conscious prose in the magazine. Really, you just cannot beat the wealth of outdoor info, tips and insights, reviews and the variety of quality articles and photos in EO. And it’s free to boot.

What do you get out of events EO hosts such as the group campout and the boulder creek cleanup?

What better place to develop a strong sense of community than in the outdoors with others? And in the process, we’re teaching the kiddos about their place in their local community and about being active on social and ecological fronts. We are also helping them develop their own sense of place in the world. We love doing the river cleanups, attending the campouts and mingling at all the great outdoor-and-beer-themed events like the Upslope Get Down. What a combination!

How do you live the EO “Go Outside and Play” life?

Rain, snow or shine, we find meaning and purpose in life by being outdoors. And not just being in the outdoors, but really connecting with the outdoors. We find a fair bit of our food by foraging nuts and berries, asparagus, mushrooms and the like. We start each day with a four- to five-mile, early-morning hike, often well before dawn to watch the sunrise. We frequently end each day with some outdoor activity, whether it be a family walk to one of the many excellent City of Boulder parks or Boulder County Open Spaces or dining in the backyard with butterflies and birds. It helps us feel more connected to each other and more centered and plugged in to natural rhythms.

What matters most to you when it comes to the outdoors and the environment?

“There are two things that interest me: the relation of people to each other, and the relation of people to land.” This quote from Aldo Leopold epitomizes my life. I get such a sense of fulfillment, a feeling of being fully alive, from feeling connected to the natural world. It feels so delightfully infectious. I get this deep sense of “rightness” when I’m interacting with nature, as a part of it, rather than set apart from it. My enthusiasm is bolstered when I see others get a sense of awe and wonder and curiosity from being in the great outdoors.

How do you try to make a positive impact on the outdoor world? How do we need to adapt to protect and preserve it?

Perhaps the greatest positive impact I can have is in fostering a sense of wonder and curiosity about the natural world in others. And what better place to start than with the children, teaching them about these senses, developing within them an attitude of gratitude and commitment to act responsibly and justly, to think about future generations? I often take children and adults alike out in the wild to teach them about foraging, and the natural history of the area, hoping my sense of awe is infectious in them. A changed perspective can lead to changed behaviors. Changed behaviors can lead to changed systems.

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