05/18/2021

Advocate Spotlight: Liz Taylor

Liz has incredible energy for all things climbing access and conservation, and works to rally the community through her roles as both an Access Fund Community Ambassador and a Wisconsin Climbers Association (WCA) board member. In her six years of climbing, she’s seen the growth of our sport and witnessed the impact we climbers are having on the landscape. Liz recognizes the force we are when we come together to advocate for the places we love, and tirelessly educates the public on what it means to practice outdoor ethics and how important it is for every climber to be a part of the conservation movement.

5 Questions for Liz

What’s your favorite cause in climbing advocacy right now?
It has been really inspiring to see the amount of work that companies, advocates, affinity groups, LCOs, and nonprofits are putting into making climbing an inclusive space for all colors, shapes, gender identities, and abilities. The more that individuals can feel welcome in the climbing community and see themselves as a part of it, the more empowered we all can feel to advocate for impactful change. This movement challenges me to learn more about what I (and the organizations I serve) can do to be better in this realm.

What does it mean to you to be a climbing advocate?

Being a climbing advocate means being aware of the impacts—both positive and negative—that our beloved sport has on our natural areas, and how we as individuals and a community can consistently strive to do better. Actions as small as packing out what you packed in and leaving the area in the same condition (if not better) than you found it go a long way toward ensuring climbers are seen as the positive force we know our community is.

What’s your advice to new advocates?

To be frank, not too many years ago I don't think I understood that all of us as climbers can be advocates. It felt like something others were always more or better equipped to do. But learning the basics—such as Leave No Trace principles and committing to Access Fund’s pledge—is an easy and impactful first step to ensure you are a positive force in the climbing and outdoor recreation communities. Also, reach out to your local climbing organization if there is something that you want to know, something that excites you, or there's something you want to do to help your local climbing community. Volunteers make it happen!

What excited you the most about getting into the advocacy world?

I love all of the nuts and bolts that make nonprofits like local climbing organizations and Access Fund work. Whether it's fundraising, lobbying, event planning, or volunteer management, I think it is beyond cool to take these skills and apply them to the protection of and continued access to lands that are such a significant part of so many of our lives.

Who is another climbing advocate whose work is really inspiring you right now?

James Edward Mills, author of The Adventure Gap. His work with the Joy Trip Project (which I'm admittedly a few books behind on) has helped me continue to gain new perspectives on what others experience in the outdoors and what I can do as an ally, advocate, and friend to make everyone feel safe, included, and welcome in the outdoors.

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