Spring has sprung and we are itching to get outdoors. Jessica Bowser joins the crew to talk about her podcast, Virginia Outdoor Adventures.
What or who influenced your love of the “Great Outdoors?”
I was fortunate to spend a lot of time outside as a child where I constantly explored and was fascinated by the natural world around me.
As an adult, I still seek that connection with nature, and I continue to explore and learn about our environment.
What is your favorite “hidden gem” natural feature in Virginia that people may not know about?
One of the greatest advantages of hosting VAOA Podcast is meeting new people who introduce me to “hidden gems” all around the commonwealth.
Episode 13 highlights the many outdoor rec opportunities of Shenandoah Mountain in George Washington National Forest, including hiking, backpacking, fishing, rock climbing, kayaking, horseback riding, wildlife watching and more.
The Mason Neck Peninsula, described in Episode 7, is a hidden gem in Northern Virginia that feels miles away from urban development.
Episode 12 explains why the DCR Natural Area Preserves and DWR Wildlife Managements Areas are untouched places to explore without the crowds, such as Savage Neck Dunes on the Eastern Shore.
Episode 17 is one of my favorite because it describes how to locate waterfalls in Shenandoah National Park that are not marked on trail maps.
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How do you think spending a lot of time outdoors has helped you personally during this Pandemic?
The outdoors has always been my sanctuary, and I could not be more grateful for the extra time I’ve been able to spend outside this past year. Like so many others, I have used the outdoors as a safe place to recreate and recharge.
The pandemic has offered an opportunity to reconnect with friends who are starting their own journey discovering the outdoors. I have also had more time to explore new places and share those experiences with others through the podcast.
What was your motivation behind starting your podcast?
Virginia is a mecca for outdoor travel and adventure. As a former teacher, I love to share my experiences with others and provide information and inspiration for others to plan and experience their own adventures close to home.
In my travels across the commonwealth, I have met a diverse group of Virginians who find meaning in connecting with nature. The outdoors are for everyone and I wanted to provide a platform for people to share their stories.
How can people get involved in conservation?
One important way to get involved is simply to share your love of the outdoors with others. The more people connect with nature, the more they understand its value and will be motivated to protect it.
As I meet people through the podcast, I have heard their stories of witnessing change over time in places they cherish.
They are alarmed by what they are experiencing and are concerned about how it will impact future generations. They have become stewards of our environment because they understand its importance in our lives.
Introduce your family and friends to positive experiences in nature so they too will be motivated to conserve the environment for everyone to enjoy.
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