It’s Finally Here! Welcome to Kemp Outside!

folder_openBlog, Kevin's Story
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Hey guys!  I am Kevin Kemp, and this is Kemp Outside!  If you are reading this it means my website is live and a dream of mine is finally realized.  I love the outdoors.  But more than that, I love helping people experience the outdoors.

Growing up, I was lucky to be able to explore the great outdoors.  In my elementary school years, we lived in Stone Mountain Georgia where we were either boating, camping and fishing at Lake Lanier or I was canoeing, fishing, and catching turtles in the pond behind our house.  From an early age, getting outside and experiencing nature was one of my favorite things to do. Having a pond and a canoe right out my backdoor was a dream come true. I always had a fishing rod rigged up with a crank bait or weedless worm and still remember the first time I came home with the bass I caught, asking my dad to cook it for me so I could eat it for dinner.

Young Kevin fishing in Georgia
Young Kevin fishing behind his home in Stone Mountain, Georgia
Kevin fishing in Lake Lanier in the mid 1980's
Kevin fishing in Lake Lanier in the mid 1980's
We spent every weekend we could on this boat on Lake Lanier
We spent every weekend we could on this boat on Lake Lanier

I’ll never forget the day we got our first boat, a used Sea Ray cabin cruiser.  I remember being fascinated with how the boat carved through the water and made a wake.  I loved going fast (even though it wasn’t fast at all) and feeling the wind on my face.  A few years later we would get a new boat, a 21′ Bayliner, where we spent weekend after weekend at Lake Lanier. Camping, fishing, swimming, and exploring the lake was the best thing a 9 year old boy could imagine in the 1980’s. Eventually we left Georgia behind to move back to Ohio, trading Lake Lanier for Lake Erie!

Kevin at 15 with a Lake Erie smallmouth bass
Kevin at 15 with a Lake Erie smallmouth bass

My teenage years were spent fishing and boating on Lake Erie.  We had a boat moored on Catawba Island Ohio where spending the weekend at Put-In-Bay or Kelly’s Island was a common occurrence in the summer. Our 28′ foot Carver was a fantastic home on the water as we fished for Walleye or cruised the islands. My favorite trip with this boat was a cruise up the Detroit River into Lake St. Clair, then up the St. Clair River into Lake Huron.

Our Carver docked at Catawba Island Ohio on Lake Erie
Our Carver docked at Catawba Island Ohio on Lake Erie

If we weren’t boating, we were exploring the local and state parks near our house where I have great memories of day hikes, bike rides and camping trips. I especially loved the Cleveland Metroparks where I’d spend countless hours biking and walking along the Rocky River.

Exploring other parts of the United States, I also have fantastic memories of trips to Maine, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and visiting my grandparents on the gulf coast of Florida where I got my first taste of saltwater fishing, crabbing and shelling on barrier islands.

It seems no matter where we went as a kid, nature and the outdoors was always part of the experience.  I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Cod fishing in Maine
Cod fishing in Maine
Kevin banding a Dickcissel at Kankakee Sands Indiana
Kevin banding a Dickcissel at Kankakee Sands, a tall grass prairie restoration project in Indiana

As high school led to college, I pursued my love of animals and studied Wildlife Management at Purdue University.  I applied for every side job I could get my hands on and worked on amazing research projects ranging from songbird reproduction in restored prairies to studying salamander breeding behavior. I was also a teaching assistant for multiple undergraduate courses at Purdue, Dendrology (the study of trees) and the lab for Ecology and Systematics of Amphibians and Reptiles.  Teaching those classes is where I realized I love to help people understand the natural world around them.

Kevin with a handful of tiger salamanders caught in a research project at Purdue University
Kevin with a handful of tiger salamanders caught in a research project at Purdue University

Unfortunately, I could not stay a student forever and I left Purdue for the Tampa Bay area of Florida in 2003. Stay tuned for more of my story!

Thanks for reading the first blog post on Kemp Outside!  I can’t wait to grow the website and bring you all kinds of outdoor content from campground and campsite reviews, camping and fishing gear maintenance tips, gear reviews, articles on fish and wildlife conservation, fishing videos, and most importantly, helping moms and dads take their kids camping, fishing, hiking, learn about nature and develop a conservation ethic!  Kemp Outside is your inside source for all things outside.  See you next time!

For Part II, click here!

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I love your story…can’t wait to hear more. I feel grounded when I am in nature. I think of this beautiful world God has given us to love, appreciate and care for.

    Reply

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