Freewheeling: Ledermann ’17 to Bike Cross-Country for Wild Places
This fall Katie Ledermann '17 will join forces with three of her high school friends to cross the country by bike. These Women on Wheels for Wild Lands (WOWFWL) hope to raise awareness of threats facing public lands by gathering and sharing stories along the way.
Ledermann and her WOWFWL partners have loved wild places from young ages and hope to preserve them for future generations. "We want people to know that public lands need our help," she says. "The threats facing them require help from everyone, even in the smallest ways."
The four will visit various public lands along their route—from Muir Woods National Monument to Dixie National Forest to Bradwell Bay Wilderness. Ledermann hopes to spend some time at each stop learning about the area and speaking with park visitors and local organizations. She also plans to speak with legislators and groups familiar with the processes of selling public lands. These details, she says, are rarely discussed in the general public but deserve awareness.
Ledermann says her concerns for public lands began in 2016 when it appeared the transfer of federal wild lands to the states was imminent. She says such a transfer could result in states being unable to afford the costs of managing these lands, thus being forced to sell them to private entities. She warns this would come at a cost to the American people, who are the real owners of this land.
"We want to live in a world of citizens who are connected to their environment and care about what happens to it and a country that ensures its people access to outdoor opportunities to make this possible," she says.
Ledermann gained critical thinking skills and improved her event planning as an undergrad, which helped her organize her bike trip. Through her internship at the Office of Sustainability, she learned about sustainable living and the importance of educating others. These experiences contributed to her desire to raise awareness for the plight of public lands.
"Morris has taught me that working together with people for something you truly believe in can have a greater, more meaningful impact," Ledermann says.
Ledermann and her fellow WOWFWL hope people will be inspired to add their voices to the fight for wild spaces. To learn more, visit womenonwheelsforwildlands.com.