Humans of City High: The Nature Fix


Lulu Roarick

Ella Sherlock ’23 and Sophie Stumbo ’23 are both passionate about nature and the outdoors, they sit in front of the statue in the new section of the building.

Lulu Roarick, Reporter

Can you say your grade and your name?

I’m Sophie Stumbo. I am in 11th grade. I’m Ella Sherlock. I’m also in 11th grade.

Sophie, Any activities you participate in? 

Skiing, two times a year since I was three. We go up to Colorado, and we have a rental house out there. We just ski and it’s a lot of fun. I love it. Probably my favorite thing in the world is skiing. 

Are there any memories that you can think of that sparked skiing?

[Sophie] I always go with my cousins.  My cousin and I always get away from the pack and go down some harder runs. There’s a lot of memories of him, he’s a speed demon. So he likes to go down really fast, and then falls a lot. I have to pick up his skis and poles that he left behind him and bring them down to them. So that’s always funny. 

You go with your family?

[Sophie] Yes. They live in Texas, so we meet there.

What’s it like having a family that lives away?

[Sophie] It’s nice to go visit them. They live on a lake. So we get to go out there and be with them, which is fun.  Then also just getting to meet in Colorado a couple of times here was always really fun and a highlight for sure.

Would you say family is an important part of your life? 

[Sophie] Family is definitely a big aspect of my life. Just like my close family, my parents and my brother, and then all my cousins. We’re all super close.

Would you say there is a time when your family supported you getting through something, etc?

[Sophie] My family supports me through every aspect of my life. I had a pretty bad injury last year. I couldn’t run, my main sport here is cross country and track, which was really difficult.  My family’s always there for me. I remember my cousins, aunt, and uncle sent me a little care package, which was just really thoughtful. Just being always able to talk to them and reach out is great.

Could you tell us about your injury? 

Last summer, I was biking in Colorado, downhill mountain biking, and I flipped over my bike and landed on a rock, like, hit my hip bone right on a rock and bruised my bone really badly. I couldn’t bike or hike or do anything for the rest of the trip, which really sucked. I had to take a couple of weeks off of running when I got back, which was a bummer. My cousins were there at the time, and they did their best to include me in everything that they did. 

Do you describe yourself as an athletic or outdoorsy person? 

[Sophie] Yes, for sure. 

Do you think the outdoors mean a lot to you? 

[Sophie] Definitely. I love the outdoors and just being outside is definitely my happy place. 

Do you want to talk about yourself Ella?  

[Ella] Sure. 

Can you think of a little thing or big thing you would like to talk about? 

[Ella] Since I was super little, I’ve been in a program called Campfire, which started as an alternative to Boy Scouts but for girls, and then it became Co-Ed. Nobody else really does it here. I go to a camp every single summer for a couple of weeks, and I’ll do programs with it throughout the year. I’ve learned a lot of outdoor skills and leadership stuff from it. I’m a person that’s been in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts before, and Campfire has been my favorite one to be in. 

Do you have a specific moment where you enjoyed being outdoors? 

[Ella] In Campfire, there are different honors that you can get, similar to in Boy Scouts, how there’s like the Eagle Scout, in Campfire, there’s different ties. They resemble different honors. So one of the higher ones is Voyager.  You have to go on an outpost trip, it is a week-long trip, where you cook all your food, and you don’t use motorized transportation. You have to cover a certain amount of miles,  I’m not sure, it’s over 15 or something like that. So I went on a backpacking trip last summer with this group of people. That was a really big thing for me, because I had never really had that much responsibility and stuff. 

Can you talk about being a Boy Scout? 

[Ella] I joined a club, because my friend was like “come to the club”. I thought it was fun, it was really small. I’m not in it currently, because it got too small. I can’t join the new one, because of timing issues. It’s the same thing that the boys do just with a club that’s not all boys, our club was not all girls, it was just open to anybody, regardless of your gender expression. So I felt really comfortable in that place.  I learned while I refreshed my outdoor skills during the year when I was in that camp in summer. I got an opportunity to be a senior patrol leader and take on some responsibility there. The program is interesting to me, because there are a lot of things I get to memorize and recite and I didn’t really like that about it. There’s some things that they’ll throw some stuff in it about religion or something. Anything involved in any type of club turns me off from it when they’re mentioning stuff for that. Besides that, I thought it was a really fun experience, especially being in the program as somebody that doesn’t identify as a guy. 

You both have a lot of outdoorsy personalities, why are you so interested in that sort of thing? 

[Sophie] For me, I think it’s more of a thing where I am not stressed when I’m outdoors. I’m not on my phone, I don’t have to worry about things like homework. I can just walk. And there’s, you know, sounds all around me. There’s so many beautiful things to see that I don’t feel like I need to be doing anything else at that moment. Also just fresh air. I know it’s cliche, but fresh air is so nice, especially during COVID. 

[Ella] Yes, I totally agree. With COVID, I would find myself just going outside in between classes, and it just helps so much. Getting a breath of fresh air and not being inside the four walls of your house is really helpful. Like I said, when you’re outside, you don’t have to worry about anything. It’s just calming, and it’s fun.

[Sophie] I also feel we don’t really appreciate nature that much. Obviously, there are so many buildings everywhere. You can’t really go anywhere without seeing one. So when you’re actually outdoors, you can be like, “oh, you know, now that I’m seeing all these animals, I’m thinking about picking up my trash instead of throwing it on the ground” 

Is there a career?  Are you looking into being something like that for your future?

[Ella] I’m really interested in environmental science. So I think that’d be a fun career path. I’m also interested in other stuff. So my options are open. 

[Sophie] Environmental science is definitely really interesting, so something along that career path would be really cool. But for me, mostly I just need a job where I am not sitting down at a desk all day, just in some direction being up and moving. You could be outside all day for your job, that would be amazing.

[Ella] I know. I want to live in another country for my job. So I thought environmental science would be a really cool thing to go into, because that can be applied wherever you go.

So for global warming, do you want to expand what you’ve done? Is that a very important issue in your lives ? 

[Ella] For me, I’m in a program called Future Problem Solving Program International. I first got introduced to the concept of Climate Change and human environmental impact when I was young, like fourth grade. So it’s always been a part of me and my family has been really supportive with trying to make changes in our households, you know, little things, like we compost all of our food now. I’ve gotten a lot of us to start thrifting our clothes or making things instead of buying new, just little stuff like that  On the bigger scheme of that, I’ve gone to protests for climate change, and helped different groups, you know, writing letters and sending that out. I don’t think that my impact is necessarily as big as I’d like it to be. But I’m working on my individual impact and my family’s impact right now.

[Sophie] I haven’t been in an organization like Ella, which I think it’d be really cool. She [Ella] was talking about with your family individually, helping them. My family’s been trying to cut down on red meat consumption and when we got rid of our refrigerator, we made sure all those chemicals were disposed of properly. We do try to limit our waste as much as we can. Growing your own vegetables and stuff. This summer we planted a couple of different tomato and pepper plants.