How Are You Like Lady Bird Johnson?
On being bold: "When I was 9 years old, I accidentally set fire to the hay meadow behind my house and got in big, big trouble with the farmer, the fire department and worse, my dad. When I was 35 years old, I went back to college, studied fire ecology, met Lady Bird Johnson and now set prescribed fires for a living. We create healthy landscapes. Best job ever."
On being an adventurer: “I love to try new food without even asking what it is. One time I even ate an ant.”
On being an adventurer: “She taught me how to be an adventurer. She was the original adventurer in my mind and she gave all of us this adventurous spirit and taught all of her daughters and grandchildren to go and engage with the world and explore and find the beauty everywhere, especially in nature.”
On being an adventurer: “I travel the world. I spend most of my time and money going to countries. I’ve been to about 51 countries. I’ve gone all around the world and seen a whole bunch of different things and backpacked around Asia and Europe and I’ve been to all 50 states and I guess that makes me an adventurer. I’ve also been exploring Austin. Over the past two years, I’ve been trying to figure out what there is to do around here. Everything that classifies as weird or interesting and making a list of it and doing everything I can.”
On being bold: “I live life gleefully, I would say. I’m not one that studies something before I do it. I do it and then I sort of learn through the school of hard knocks and just winging it kind of thing. I think that Lady Bird was a fantastic first lady. She was bold in that she was an activist. She was really the first environmentalist first lady and the first activist first lady and that means taking charge, which is another thing I do. But that takes passion which I have. It takes creativity which I have. And it takes support and I’m so very blessed to have so many friends and a family that appreciates that aspect of me. “
On being an environmentalist: “I want to go into felinology and study cats. I got my family to start recycling because I like the environment to be nice, and the ocean is starting to fill up with trash and it’s bad for the environment.”
On being an environmentalist: “I try to do little things that positively affect the environment and the natural world. For instance: picking up litter, river cleanups and last February I went to the big shell beach cleanup on Padre Island National Seashore which is an event where hundreds of people come together to volunteer to pick up all the trash on the beach. Trash is a big problem there but if you get a lot of people together and clean it up, it gives you a real positive feeling and you get a lot done with a lot of people. The same thing applies for the rivers here. I do a lot of canoeing and I’m real big on picking up trash. I’ll fill up my whole canoe up with trash and it’s kind of a rewarding thing. A lot of people are like, “Wow, you’re just picking up that trash? This isn’t your property, you don’t own this but you’re just picking it up?” And you can tell it kind of changes their perspective a little bit. I try to teach my kids that, too. It’s about caring about the little things not because you own it or because it’s yours but because it’s worth caring about.”
On being an adventurer: "I am an internationally certified yoga teacher and so I lived in India…in north India in the Himalayas. I lived in New York, the Bahamas. I’ve got to say the Himalayas is my favorite area. It’s basically on the China/India border — it’s extremely remote. So you have to study classical Sanskrit and classical yoga texts and practices, and I basically taught yoga in India. It was fun! I’d do it again in a heartbeat if I could… maybe someday in the future, if I can get back because I really enjoyed it."
On being an adventurer: “I did a lot of international traveling solo and I spent 9 months abroad doing volunteer farm work over the course of a 3 year span. I was in some rural villages in central Portugal and in rural southern Spain and it took me as far as Madeira Island. The kinds of things that I encountered in that situation really changed who I am as a person. I was doing a self-directed survey of permaculture techniques by working on those different farms to volunteer, but it was one of the most adventurous things that I have done because I was navigating all the time new places, major language barriers (my Portuguese is definitely not good) and just doing it all by myself.”
On being bold: “My son is 7 months old and when he was born he was in the hospital for two and half months. I learned that you have to stand up for yourself and you have to make it very clear what you’re going to accept and what you’re not going to accept from anyone in your life and what’s valuable to you. That’s what being bold means to me right now.”
On being an adventurer: “I’ve just come back from three weeks up in New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana camping. And I tent-camp with my husband. Everyone asks if I do RV but I don’t. So we were outside of Santa Fe and we were outside of Pikes Peak. This year there’s been so much rain everywhere that I’ve never seen Wyoming as green as it is with lots of wildflowers. Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone is covered with wildflowers and up in the mountains, too. We’d both look at all the wildflowers over there, and I always think of Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson always referred to them as the DYC’s (the “damned yellow composites”). Anyways, it’s a big adventure. We like hiking. We love getting up on the trails up in the mountains where it’s cool in the summertime.”
On being an adventurer: “Moving to Texas. I spent my first 25 years up in Washington State. I went to university up there. I was actually homeschooled on a farm. Went to college, became a social worker. After 5 years of social work, working with domestic violence survivors in a shelter, I realized that there was more that I could do in the world than just that and that perhaps rather than helping the same people in the same small town over and over again that I could be doing something to be more a part of the community and to tell stories and to share and to raise awareness so I moved to Austin, Texas and started writing songs and that’s part of what brings me to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I come out here and work on songs and get inspired but what she did.”
Tell us how you are like Lady Bird Johnson!
Are you an adventurer or environmentalist? Are you bold? Share your story with us, and we may publish it on this site. Steps for sharing your story:
- Download one of our "#belikeladybird" signs.
- Take a photo of yourself and write a short story that tells the world how you exhibit the characteristic you choose. Look at the examples above for inspiration.
- Share your story with us on our Instagram or Facebook pages. Be sure to tag it #belikeladybird and @wildflowercenter.