I’m Joe, the founder of Over the Reef. Going outside and participating in one of many outdoor hobbies has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. From the simplicity of building forts and trails in the woods behind the house, to overnight beach fishing trips and multi-day hiking trips in the wilderness, outdoor play and recreation has been integral to my development as a person. The hobbies I developed as a kid gave me something interesting to do a teenager. Connecting with people through the outdoors led me to develop lifetime friendships and memories with friends and family.
As I grew up, I have realized how important outdoor recreation and an appreciation for nature really is—both for me and for all of society. There is nothing better than a paddle in the canoe or a long hike in the woods to snap me out of a bad mood. Spending time outdoors has given me a sense of perspective that I need often in everyday life.
I learned about the positive effect of being outside and being active and engaged with my natural surroundings at an early age. I started this program so that I can now share this knowledge with others. What better way to spend my day than to introduce children to the magic and wonder of nature?
My interaction with nature has been like a series of building blocks—one activity leading to another. I took a walk in the woods and it led to longer hikes in state parks, which eventually led to multi-day hikes in the wilderness. A first fishing trip with my dad to the local pond eventually led me to adventures fishing on the beaches with my friends. Just like life in nature itself, interest in the outdoors starts as a small thing, a seed that can be sown over a lifetime of appreciation, activity, and adventure.
Joseph Wagner lives in Eastern Connecticut. He holds a B.A. degree in Marine Affairs and a minor in Animal Science. He was a seasonal employee for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for three years and has served on his town’s Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission for over 12 years. He has two dogs that love long hikes and is a licensed foster parent through the Connecticut DCF..