What I Owe the Parks

Ali OsterholzDonor Stories
Grand Teton mountain range
Grand Teton National Park - NPS Photo / Adams

When I was a high school senior, I had the chance to go on a week-long class trip to Grand Teton National Park. It was the first time I had visited a national park or spent so much time outdoors — and the trip changed the course of my life forever.

After spending so much time learning in and about nature, I was inspired to study environmental science and biology at college. And now, ten years later, I’ve completed a master’s degree studying ecology, evolution, and conservation biology — and it all started with that class trip to Grand Teton National Park.

Ali Osterholz smiles for a picture at Grand Teton National Park

Ali Osterholz at Grand Teton National Park

Ali Osterholz

My business was inspired by nature too. During graduate school, knitting was a huge stress relief for me. Eventually, I started hand-dyeing yarn as a creative outlet, and my business was born. I began creating color palettes inspired by each park. The green-gray of Everglades National Park’s resident crocodiles ... the soft reds and oranges of Death Valley National Park’s desert landscape ... the rich forest greens of Acadia National Park’s pines ... it’s hard to not be inspired by such breathtaking landscapes and the wildlife within them.

Now, I have an entire collection of yarns inspired by national parks, with new parks added each year. It brings me so much joy to hear from knitters who made beautiful creations with their yarns to honor their own memories made in the parks!

We now have a team of four hard-working women, which I never would have anticipated when I started dyeing yarn four years ago. Since the beginning, we wanted to give back to the parks, and have donated over $100,000 to the National Park Foundation. This year, we made a longer-term commitment to support the ParkVentures initiative. The parks are so precious to me. It’s my duty, and also my joy, to give back to the parks that have given so much to me.

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