The joys and challenges of exploring nature while black

June 12, 2020

Mythili Sampathkumar from Grist recently interviewed experts (and Grist FixersCorina NewsomeJason Ward, and Jose Gonzalez to ask: How can green spaces become more inclusive? What strategies and projects might make people of color more comfortable being outdoor explorers? Read the entire article here.


Corina Newsome, co-organizer of #BlackBirdersWeek, graduate student at Georgia Southern University

“…the thing that many organizations don’t realize is that race is something only privileged people can choose not to think about — race does not impact their ability to survive, it does not impact their ability to live in peace. Organizations need to realize that neutrality is a form of oppression; it is oppression of voice.”

Jason Ward, host of the YouTube series Birds of North America

“I’m trying to not only change the narrative and get our voices and our opinions out there; I’m also trying to make the pathway a little easier for the next generation of birders who want to express their passion and love for the outdoors but may feel like it’s not a field that they can enter. We hear from a lot of local Audubon chapters across the country that say, “Our doors are always open — anyone who wants to come in can join us.” Well, that’s not enough. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, you have to be intentional — and consistent. And this is the impact that can be achieved when you hire people of color.”

Jose Gonzalez, founder of Latino Outdoors

“…acknowledging that enjoying the outdoors doesn’t have to look like the single white hiker with the granola bar and expensive backpack and hiking boots. I’m looking at the outdoors industry to see how they can step up to show that they value the black experience for what it is, rather than what it needs to become in order for people to be considered outdoorsy. It’s something we have to pay attention to and celebrate, rather than think that the way to enjoy the outdoors is by fitting into the white norm of how we should engage and recreate with nature.”