Happy New Year 2018 by Shanti Hodges for Hike it Baby

As we close out 2017 and welcome a new year, I want to take a few moments to reflect on all that I am grateful for. Five years ago, just before Mason was born, I had no idea what my life would look like in 2018. I was nervous about having a child and if I would continue to get out on the adventures I hoped for once he came. I didn’t know how I would make friends or if I would be a nervous parent, helicoptering over my child’s every move or if I would be relaxed and let my child climb mountains as soon as he could walk. I tried not to think about the “what if’s” and stay present from the moment he was born, just thinking about what we could do together on that day.

Being present is an important part of parenting and something I like to remind myself of every day – especially in these trying times filled with negative news, natural disasters and so many questions of where we are going as a country. While an important part of Hike it Baby has always been to stay non-political, I would like to remind all of us that nature is a big piece of what has brought us all together as a community, so it is our job as we enter into 2018 to continue to respect her and do our individual part to keep her clean and healthy.

This starts with the simple practice of sharing the beautiful spaces around us, both in the middle of our cities and in rural spaces with our children. In 2018, take time to think about your part in the bigger picture of things and how simple actions like picking up trash around you, taking things home to throw out instead of leaving them in the park garbage, being aware of what your child or dog drops and picking it up, letting parks know where there are downed trees or broken bridges. It’s all of the little actions together in nature that help keep it beautiful.

Consider volunteering for a local park cleanup or go further and venture on to a trail to help out. Donate to organizations like Hike it Baby or other conservation groups and help spread messages of natural resource protection on your Facebook and Instagram. We all have many tools at our fingertips to be active from actually doing the work out in the field or sitting on our phone and spreading positive messaging.

Change starts with each of us, so as ambassadors and trail stewards, let’s see how we can have a profound impact on the natural world around us for both our community and for our children in 2018. This is going to be a great year and I am filled with hope and enthusiasm because of all that I saw within the Hike it Baby community in 2017. Let’s keep this ball of fun rolling. Happy New Year and Happy Hiking!

Happy New Year 2018 by Shanti Hodges for Hike it Baby

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