June is Pride Month. We’re celebrating LGBTQ+ individuals who not only have an interest in the outdoors, but embrace the love they have for the natural world. These local individuals share their stories on why they love exploring the outdoors and how the outdoors is safe and welcoming to everyone.
Meet Connor Holt (he/him/his)
Great Parks: Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. My name is Jashan Singh and my pronouns are she/her. For this interview and future publications following this interview, which pronouns would you like us to use when referencing yourself?
Connor Holt: He/Him
GP: What is your specific interest in the outdoors?
CH: That’s a hard question to narrow down because I feel like I have a lot of interests about the outdoors, but I’m a big animal guy. Any program that has animals in it, it’s automatically my favorite program. I like to work with horses and cows. I worked over at Parky’s Farm for the longest, six years over there. But then snakes are a close second.
GP: What started your interest in the outdoors?
CH: I started working at Great Parks when I was 18, and I was just in my senior year of high school. I just always knew that I wanted a job that didn’t have a set routine because I am the kind of person that does not like routines. My friend suggested that I apply to Great Parks. Great Parks is actually what got me interested in it, because I fell in love with working outside because I was working in the parks.
GP: Did you have someone who inspired you?
CH: Yeah actually, my friend. Her name is Taylor. We are always building each other up and working off of each other. She is actually the one who was said, “You should apply to be one of the in-reach teachers, which later became the interpreter positions in the parks. Then when I got that job I was like, ‘This is it!’”
GP: Have you had any obstacles you had to face while enjoying the outdoors?
CH: It makes me feel kind of guilty that I haven’t. When I think of obstacles, nothing crazy about that type of thing. I guess just inconsistent weather in Cincinnati while working outdoors is the only obstacle I really face. I just go outside and do my thing. My favorite is when I find something like a frog outside and I’ll just ask everyone to gather around.
GP: If you are comfortable sharing, what were those obstacles?
CH: I would just add that I consider myself one of the lucky ones that has never faced any judgment or being looked down on or anything like that in regards to being a part of the LBGTQ+ community.
GP: What would you recommend someone do to make the outdoors a safe and fun place for everyone?
CH: Smile and greet everyone no matter what they look like, what they sound like – anything like that. Just come off as very welcoming and make sure that everyone has the best time that you can possibly give them.
Nature Interpreter, Miami Whitewater Forest