My name is Taylor Eigenhuis, but everyone has been calling me Creature or Critter since I was younger, so I’ve since embraced those nicknames as well. I’m 22 years old and was born and raised in Ventura, California, with my parents and two brothers. Growing up, I’ve always had an unconditional love and immense appreciation for the outdoors. I connect with the outdoors by dabbling in different extreme sports and getting creative, but surfing and backpacking have always been what have formed the strongest bond between myself and nature. I also very much enjoy wakeboarding and creating (whether that be drawing/painting, writing music, building natural forts and structures, etc.), and I’ve just recently gotten into dirt biking too! At 18, I dropped out of high school, got my GED, and went to live and work in the Inyo National Forest through the Backcountry Trails Program (BCTP). Through that experience, I grew more in touch with myself, the diverse and beautiful communities around me, and the wilderness, and left with more knowledge and skills than I ever could have gotten from any traditional school, college, or university. The Backcountry Trails Program also sparked a newfound passion in me for conservation work. By the time I was 19, I left the nest to live off-grid near Nevada City, California, for four years, where I made a living doing lots of different odd jobs here and there. Since November, I’ve been residing in Magnolia, Texas, working with a Conservation and Disaster crew with the Texas Conservation Corps.
Ever since my experience with BCTP, I knew my calling was to work with nature to help protect and preserve the wilderness and wildlife. I was driven to join the Mt. Adams Institute as an Americorps intern to help build my career and further pursue my passion for the outdoors. I hope to expand my knowledge on taking care of these pristine environments and to learn more about the indigenous peoples’ role in preserving and living on these lands for thousands of years. I have much pride in helping to protect the land that was stolen from indigenous peoples until they can claim it back, all while educating the public on how to be respectful and appreciative visitors. I’m very excited to be a part of a diverse community of folks who all come from different backgrounds but still have the same passions and drive as I do. I would love to work with the Forest Service one day, whether that be through trail work, ranger work, or wildland firefighting, and I can’t wait to see what this opportunity has to offer me through my career-building journey!