Getting to Know Our Staff: 15 Questions with… Karen Wood

There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes brain power that goes into planning your favorite programs, be it public, family-friendly, or custom outings. Learn about those who work inside so you can get outside.

This week we’ll be interviewing Karen Wood, our shared Chief Financial Officer.

Karen Wood 1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors?

I grew up in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA. After college (at William & Mary in Williamsburg), I moved to Eugene, Oregon in the mid 80s where I started my first accounting job and became active in various environmental causes. I moved to Pittsburgh in 2000 so that my children could grow up closer to their families (their father grew up here.) Skipping forward another 17 years, I learned of the new “shared CFO” position and jumped into the ring. I had been aware of Venture Outdoors since it started and always felt very aligned with their mission. From my own experiences in environmental and educational work, there is nothing as effective as getting people outdoors to foster a real understanding of the natural world around us. The more we retreat inside, in front of our screens, as a society, the more important this becomes.

2. Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.

To provide better understanding and planning from a financial perspective.

3. What does “getting outside” mean to you?

Anything from just sitting in your backyard getting more familiar with the plant life and animals moving through or living there, to enjoying a hike, bike ride, or boat trip and discovering new places.

Karen at Watkins Glen - Blog Photo 2 4. If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

Hiking/walking. It can be meditative and gives me time to really take in my surroundings at my own pace.

5. What is the craziest thing you have done?

Agreeing to so many pets over the years. Right now I live with a dog, a cat, a bunch of koi (including about 2-3 dozen babies), an impressive array of wild bird neighbors, and I’m awaiting the arrival of a second dog.

6. What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?

My favorite local hike recently is Fall Run park in Shaler. Getting further afield: Presque Isle, Cook Forest, the Laurel Highlands, First Landing State Park (Virginia Beach), and the Bocas del Toro islands in Panama.

7. What is your favorite forest/camping snack?

I have a weakness for trail mix. With M&Ms.

8. Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.

David Brower, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall

9. What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?

I’m still making them!Karen Presque Isle Biking - Blog Photo 2

10. Describe your dream Venture Outdoors program/outing.

Kayak or canoe trip on the Clarion River.

11. What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?

Girl Scout camp in Suffolk, VA as a 7-year-old, “flying up” Brownie where I developed a love for archery and canoeing.

12. What would the title of your autobiography be?

Riding the rapids of life.

13. Any hidden talents?

I was trained as a classical pianist.

14. What is your favorite song (or album) right now?

The Alpine Butterfly by Phillip Roebuck

15. What is your biggest challenge nowadays?

Getting settled in my exciting new position as the shared CFO for five fantastic nonprofit organizations!

 

Stay tuned for more “Fifteen Questions with…” soon!

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OUTDOOR News

  • Getting to Know Our Staff: 15 Questions with… Karen Wood

    October 10, 2017

    There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes brain power that goes into planning your favorite programs, be it public, family-friendly, or custom outings. Learn about those who work inside so you can get outside.

    This week we’ll be interviewing Karen Wood, our shared Chief Financial Officer.

    Karen Wood 1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors?

    I grew up in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, VA. After college (at William & Mary in Williamsburg), I moved to Eugene, Oregon in the mid 80s where I started my first accounting job and became active in various environmental causes.

     » Read more about: Getting to Know Our Staff: 15 Questions with… Karen Wood  »

  • Women On the Water: My first adventure with Venture Outdoors

    October 3, 2017

    By: Grace Groeger, Communications Intern

    Kayak

    I decided to hit the ground running and just dove into any program with an opening my first week with Venture Outdoors. I started scrolling through the activities calendar and saw an opening for Women on the Water (WOW), and I thought to myself, that’s the one I’m doing. I couldn’t be more excited about signing up for my first program; my friends were sick of me already for bragging about how awesome my internship is only a week in.

    There I was bright and early down in Pittsburgh on the home opener for the Steelers trying to find parking.

     » Read more about: Women On the Water: My first adventure with Venture Outdoors  »

  • Put-in-Bay, An Island Getaway in your Back Yard

    September 26, 2017

    By: Jacob Tumminello

    Put-in-Bay is a small village located on South Bass Island just north of Sandusky, Ohio. The town was constructed in 1830 and originally named for only the bay in Lake Erie. Although the name may imply a man-made creation, the islands were naturally created by the geographic evolution of the earth. I had the privilege of exploring this strange little island getaway on a trip with my family and was surprised by how much there is to do in such a condensed place.

    Sunset Put In Bay

    After stepping off the ferry that took us from Sandusky to the island,

     » Read more about: Put-in-Bay, An Island Getaway in your Back Yard  »

  • MY FIRST PROGRAM EXPERIENCE WITH VENTURE OUTDOORS

    September 19, 2017

    Summer Tree ID

    By: Samantha Sektnan, Communications Intern

    Attending the “Summer Tree ID” program was a great way to start off being a part of the Venture Outdoors community. Taking an easy stroll in Frick Park as we learned tips and tricks to identify the trees around us was something I never imagined myself doing before joining this organization, but I am definitely glad I did it. As someone with literally had zero knowledge on how to identify trees, local ecologist Henry Schumacher – who led the trip – had a lot of work on his hands in order to teach me the basics..

     » Read more about: MY FIRST PROGRAM EXPERIENCE WITH VENTURE OUTDOORS  »

  • Venturing Outdoors: How I Learned to Appreciate Nature by Working at Kayak Pittsburgh

    September 12, 2017

    By: Alexander Downing

    Since August 2014 I’ve worked as an attendant at Kayak Pittsburgh’s North Park location. This means I’m one of the smiling faces in the green shirts pushing boats into the water and handing out PFDs and paddles. It also means I get to look out on the beautiful North Park Lake for hours on end. As it turns out, that’s been the most memorable part of the job and the catalyst for a change in how I view nature.

    As a kid, the primary role nature played in my life was as the location for sports.

     » Read more about: Venturing Outdoors: How I Learned to Appreciate Nature by Working at Kayak Pittsburgh  »

Kayak Pittsburgh

 

#KeepPittsburghPaddling

Our North Shore and North Park locations are open weekends only in October.

Featured Outing

Romeo and Juliet Hike
Saturday, October 28
5:00 – 10:30 PM

Calling all theater lovers! Join us for an evening of two adventures! We’ll start with a hike through Oakland and a pizza dinner from 5pm -7pm followed by a production of Romeo and Juliet presented by Pittsburgh PICT Classic Theatre. Price includes the hike, dinner and show ticket.

SIGN UP HERE!