CHENEY CALDWELL, Wilderness Advocate and Trip Leader

Cheney was born and raised in Ojai fostering an early connection to Nature. In her early twenties she helped charter a young humanitarian service organization, Ventura Rotaract Club, and served as president for two years. The role enlightened her to the innate power and agency of youth, and sparked a desire to learn more. She returned to college and studied Sociology with an emphasis in Institutions; after earning her Bachelor of Arts degree, she was disillusioned with the precarious health of the Commons: water, land and air. Her adventurous spirit and curiosity about South American wilderness led her to spend 9 months over 2 ½ years traveling in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Perú; recently, she lived and worked on a reserve in Argentine rainforest for five weeks. The kindness and hospitality that Latino strangers extended positively overwhelmed her, and reminded her of all the people who said: “You can’t travel to South America alone— you’re a woman!”. Having chaperoned several TGEW campouts, it became clear to her that youth are generally lacking contact with the natural world. She hopes that by creating a safe space to explore Nature and self, young women will be inspired to be wild, become stewards of the Commons, and follow their true north.