Theresa Silveyra - Ultraneer, LNT Steward and Outdoor Womxn
Hey Kula-verse! Today I am absolutely thrilled to introduce one of the Kula Ambassadors... Theresa Silveyra. Theresa is a PNW-based adventurer with a genuine passion for Leave No Trace and 'ultraneering'. Among her resume of incredible long-distance accomplishments is a recent climb of both Wy'East (Mt. Hood) and Mt. Saint Helens in the SAME day. She is inspiring on so many levels - and I hope that reading about her passion inspires you to push yourself to try something new and discover a new limit to what you are capable of accomplishing.
1. Tell us who you are and what excites you most in life? I don many hats in my daily life (trail runner, climber, pianist, music teacher, writer, trail steward, dog mom...), but I feel I best identify as an outdoor womxn who loves encouraging and inspiring other womxn to get outside! As an ambassador for the group PNW Outdoor Women, I plan and host events (hikes, presentations, workshops, etc.) for PNWOW members in the Portland area. Providing womxn-centered opportunities for outdoor recreation and skill building (while keeping events as financially accessible as possible), as well as facilitating communication and connection among womxn, has been an incredibly fulfilling journey.
2. Tell us about a project (or adventure) that you are working on right now/planning for? I've had a blog for the last few years where I write about and reflect on my favorite outdoor adventures and experiences. The last couple of months I've been brainstorming ways to expand the direction of my blog while still keeping it outdoor-related. I've decided to start what I hope will be a long standing series featuring womxn of the PNW (beginning with ambassadors and members of the PNWOW community specifically)! I'm really excited to be able to provide another platform for womxn to share their diverse stories and experiences so we can continue to lift each other up and be better about amplifying and acknowledging the voices and experiences of marginalized groups of womxn in particular.
3. What does Leave No Trace Mean to You? To me, Leave No Trace has both a local connotation, as well as a global one. "Local" LNT refers to the seven principles and how they can guide us to make choices that help us to respect, care for, and limit our impact within outdoor spaces. But why stop there? It doesn't make sense to value our outdoor spaces and preach the LNT principles if we don't think about how our everyday actions "impact" humanity and the rest of the planet. Acknowledging complicity, educating ourselves and each other, and making even small, accessible changes in other facets of our lives to help lessen our impact is just as important as (if not more important than) sticking to the seven principles while spending time outside.
4. What would you say to somebody who wants to start pursuing more adventure in their life, but isn't exactly sure how to get started? Start by defining what adventure means to you! Adventure, to me, is basically any activity or experience (doesn't even have to be outdoor-related!) that pushes me even slightly out of my comfort zone. Consider introducing something new and unfamiliar into your life, even just a small thing that deviates from your everyday routine. Be patient with and kind to yourself, especially if the "something" you introduced is a new skill. Allow yourself to make mistakes and embrace the struggle. Struggle is growth! This mindset will open you up to even more opportunities and experiences. Hone in on the activities and experiences that bring you the greatest joy and do your best to make time for them. I've also found that surrounding myself with supportive people and a community that shares the same interests has continued to help me grow and be even more adventurous within my current passions!
5. The wilderness gives us so much more than just an adventure. Tell us about the role that the wilderness has placed in your life. The wilderness has been a consistent place of growth for me over the past few years. Initially, it was an escape from the burnout, frustration, self-doubt, and lack of direction I experienced (and still experience at times) after completing my master's degree. I needed a way to revitalize and find myself again. Getting outside ended up being the answer for me. As outdoor recreation became more of a constant in my life rather than just a sporadic activity, the wilderness became a place to push myself physically and mentally in order explore further and see and experience more of the PNW. Day hiking led to backpacking and trail running, which eventually led to mountaineering, climbing, ultrarunning, and, most recently, fastpacking and "ultraneering." This past year, the wilderness has also become an important backdrop in the ongoing conversation about diversity, equity, representation, privilege, and systems of oppression in this country. This current role that wilderness plays in my life is the most difficult and uncomfortable but also the most important one. It pushes me to recognize the privileges I have (even as a womxn of color) in order to access the outdoors and it pushes me to listen to and unpack some hard truths being delivered by some amazingly brave folx and the marginalized communities they advocate for. The process isn't easy, but I know my connection to the outdoor spaces I love and cherish will be even deeper if I'm being a better ally to the communities who currently lack representation and accessibility.
6. Free space - share anything else you would love us to know! Well let's see...
I live in Portland, Oregon and work as a piano teacher at a small music academy. I love connecting with people through teaching and education in general, which is probably why my favorite events to host as a PNWOW ambassador are workshops and presentations. I'm also a Leave No Trace Master Educator and try to plan a couple of awareness workshops each year. They are super fun to do! Mmm...what else...
My favorite place ever is the North Cascades. If I was only ever able to explore these mountains for the rest of my life, I would consider it a life well lived.
And for all you outdoor womxn in the PNW who might be reading this, please feel free to reach out to me if you'd like me to share your story!
Connect with Theresa:
Social media info