10 Essential Questions: Katherine Hollis

Meet Katherine Hollis, your Conservation and Advocacy Director, learn about why she became interested in conservation, and what excites her most about working with The Mountaineers.
Kristina Ciari Tursi Kristina Ciari Tursi
Membership & Marketing Manager
March 20, 2015
10 Essential Questions: Katherine Hollis
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For our member profile this week, we take a different approach and introduce you to Katherine Hollis, our conservation and recreation manager. Learn about why she became interested in conservation, and what excites her most about working with The Mountaineers.

Name: Katherine Hollis
Hometown: Winson-Salem, North Carolina
Member Since: 2012
Occupation: Conservation and Responsible Recreation Manager for The Mountaineers
Favorite Activities: Climbing, Skiing, Mountaineering, Paddling, Hiking - get me out there!

10 Essential Questions

What first interested you in conservation?

I credit my parents, who had me out hiking and camping at a very young age. This early connection with the outdoors has influenced my life in so many ways: I am truly an example of someone who has benefited from the physical, emotional and social benefits of an active, outdoor lifestyle and from there made the connection to conservation. As a child, I remember wondering why the creek we were hiking along was foamy and hated arriving at campsites littered with garbage. Though lucky to have been instilled with wilderness ethics from a young age, it look me a while to understand what conservation means and looks like. When I heard ‘conservation’ I thought of hardline, no human impact or access to lands and waterways, which didn’t resonate with me at all — spending time in the outdoors was foundational to me as a person. As I spent increasingly more time recreating on public lands in college and afterwards, I learned that conservation is about responsible use of natural resources, for current and future use and enjoyment. As outdoor recreationalists we are uniquely positioned to protect the places that inspire, excite and challenge us.

What excites you the most about working with The Mountaineers?

Quite simply, our members and our legacy here in the Pacific Northwest. So many of our members engage with nature through human-powered recreation: they are climbers, hikers, paddlers, scramblers, and, well, Mountaineers! I’m stepping into 100 years of passionate outdoors people, with a strong history of engaging in conservation. I’m honored to be taking this legacy forward. The Mountaineers are uniquely positioned at confluence of conservation and responsible recreation, and I’m excited to provide opportunities for our members to become conservationists and advocates for the lands and waters that are important to them.

What’s the first big project you’re taking on?

I am evaluating our conservation and responsible recreation programming. This will allow me to set a strategic agenda for the next few years. The focus will be on engaging those would-be conservationists who want to ensure that future generations can enjoy the wilderness as much as they do, but aren't sure where to start.

Who/What inspires you?

The great outdoors. Spending time in nature opens my soul.

What does adventure mean to you?

Adventure is when I’m out of my comfort zone and getting into my stretch zone. From working a climbing route to traveling internationally, you only grow when you are being stretched!
Lightning Round
Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Superpower? Obscure language like Kyrgyz and Pa-O.
Smile or game face? Smile.  
Post-adventure meal of choice? If it's been a multi-day adventure, I crave freshies that I didn't have when out there like salad or ice cream.
If you could be a rock star at any outdoor activity overnight, what would it be? Skiing.

This article originally appeared in our March/April 2014 issue of Mountaineer magazine. To view the article in magazine form and read more stories from our bi-monthly publication, click here.