A national organization that encourages women and their children to get outside, enjoy nature and be active as soon as possible after giving birth, Hike it Baby, was launched in the Ann Arbor area in an effort to reduce the effects of postpartum depression in new mothers and create a support system for the community. Ypsilanti mom, Annie Fortunato, is a former environmental educator and was introduced to the idea by a family member. After discovering that Washtenaw County didn’t not offer anything similar, she took it upon herself to contact the founder and the next day a Facebook group was created and members came quickly.
What quality do you most admire in others?
I admire people with strong convictions and a passion for whatever it is they love.
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Visiting my grandparents at their winter home in Florida. We went every Christmas for 13 years, so there are LOTS of memories!
What’s your favorite food?
West African Peanut Soup from the People’s Food Co-op.
Where is the best local place to take your kids?
Outside! Go on a toddler-led hike and you’ll see how fun the outdoors can be – their imaginations are incredible. Our favorite local trail is Sandra Richardson Park near Milan.
What’s your super power?
Cat-like reflexes – you have to have them to survive toddler-hood.
What is your favorite movie?
“Field of Dreams”
When you were younger, what did you want to be?
An astronaut, a veterinarian, and Captain Planet.
What are your hobbies?
Hiking, dancing, camping, collecting postcards, letterboxing, traveling, baking, watching baseball, and spending time with my family.
What is the most important lesson in life you’ve learned so far?
There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing.
What is your favorite family ritual?
We go on hikes every Sunday morning. It’s relaxing, healthy, and creates memories that will last a lifetime.
What always makes you laugh?
My son, Neko, three, makes me laugh constantly. He lights up a room and certainly is the comic relief I often need – even when he doesn’t mean to be.
What do you most people not know about you?
I have been to every US state except Alaska.
What has surprised you the most about being a parent?
I never realized how important having a schedule was as a parent, until I had Neko. Scheduling visits with extended family around nap times or scheduling a shower for yourself – it’s the only way things can get done!
What is your favorite indulgence?
Who do you admire most?
I admire people who follow their dreams, who stand up for what they believe in, and who never give up.
Early bird or night owl?
Night owl that has been forced into retirement since becoming a parent!
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
My mother. She passed away when I was 17 and I often wonder if she is proud of me. It would be nice to see her again.
What book would you recommend to other moms?
I’m obsessed with The Hunger Games trilogy, so I would recommend it to anyone!
What’s your signature meal to make?
My husband is the cook in the house and I’m the baker. My signature baked good is definitely my chocolate-banana-oat cookies.
What is the best gift moms can give their children?
Acceptance. Embracing your child for who they are will give them confidence and self-worth.