Sustaining Generational Respect for Wild Places

April 04, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

On my latest podcast I'm talking with Isaac James Baker. I got to know Isaac through Instagram. The more he posted, the more I wanted to know. Isaac has worked as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, and editor. He has a Master’s Degree in fiction writing, he reviews wines for an award-winning wine blog, and is an author for The Good Men Project.  Among things we’ll talk about – Isaac -- in his own words, is a “newb” and “constant learner” wildlife photographer and posts his wildlife shots and sightings on Instagram, which include great birds, Coyotes and other species. Isaac calls Coyotes his “homies”, and he’s taken and posted some very nice shots of Coyotes. Isaac lives around the metropolitan DC area and we’ve been following each other on Instagram for a while. In the “9-to-5-world”, Isaac is a journalist. He’s currently a communications specialist for the Federal Election Commission. That’s an independent regulatory agency that “protects the integrity of the federal campaign finance process by providing transparency and fairly enforcing and administering federal campaign finance laws.”


Isaac also comes from a long line of outdoor lovers, including his mother who was the first women to surf in his local New Jersey town. As a young boy, Isaac also spent several years in Ukraine during a different, but also difficult time in that country’s history. That experience helped him develop an appreciation for wild canids. Canids include dogs, foxes, coyotes, and wolves.  Love, enjoyment, and respect for the outdoors were instilled in him young, and he’s living a life that celebrates, in many ways, what nature provides us.


The ability to be active in the outdoors actually helped Isaac overcome some pretty dark times in his personal life, and Isaac shares some things from a darker and difficult time in his life. Isaac is conscious about passing the generational respect for nature on to his daughter. I talled with Isaac about a lot of topics – including his love of nature, sustaining generational respect for our wild places, his years in Ukraine against the backdrop of today’s violence in that country, his project to document the hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park, things on his wildlife photography wish list, and more.


Here's the questions we talked about. Listen to the podcast now


  • You’re active in a lot of outdoor endeavors.  How did all that get started?  Why surfing, hiking, mountain climbing, and wildlife photography?


  • Shortly after Russia’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, you shared a photo on Instagram from Kyiv, Ukraine, taken in 1995, that showed you, your siblings, and other children playing on overturned military tanks. In that post you said your “heart was breaking for the people of my former home, who showed me so much grace and hospitality.”  How did those years living in Ukraine influence you?


  • Speaking of things on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, you review wines for an award-winning wine blog. Your interest in wine started on the other side of the Atlantic. How did that get started?


  • Changing gears a bit Isaac,  if folks were to search you on the Internet they’d easily find, that like many of us, at one point in your life, you experienced some dangerous and traumatic events. You’ve written and published about some very dark times in your life. Now that you’re on the other side of that, how has your perspective changed? Has the ability to get outdoors and enjoy the outdoors helped you?


  • When I look through your Instagram posts, it’s exactly what your profile says you’re about, “nature, waves, metal, wine, etc..”. One exception is that you periodically post about your daughter. Maybe when you next update your profile you’ll add, “dad”? 


  • You mention generational respect for our natural places. How are you trying to pass that on and sustain that?


  • You started a project in 2020 to hike and document every mile of every trail in Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah National Park is 75 miles from DC and has over 500 miles of trails. How is the project coming along? Do you plan to publish about it?


  • Do you have places or wildlife on your travel or photography “wish list”?



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