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Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) in an outdoor setting

Making the outdoors more accessible for everyone takes deliberate and intentional action. Many barriers exist that disproportionately impact historically marginalized communities from the benefits of experiencing nature. These barriers include physical barriers such as distance to a park or beach along with lack of transportation; ADA accessibility and; a lack of proper equipment to safely bike, climb, or camp. Barriers to accessing the outdoors also include more obscure ones like a lack of representation in park staff or visitorship and consequently a general feeling of not belonging, as well as a lack of familiarity with trails or access points. These barriers not only prevent low-income and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities and people with disabilities from experiencing the outdoors, they also prevent access to interpretive programs and workforce in the outdoors, continuing the cycle of a lack of representation. 

Take a look at the work that’s being done in and around our communities to increase access to the benefits of nature for ALL and learn how you can get involved!

The Avarna Group envisions a more resilient and connected world where all humans sustain healthy relationships with ourselves, one another, and our planet. We manifest this vision by creating pathways, providing resources, and innovating strategies that support the outdoor and environmental sector in their evolution toward justice, equity, diversity, inclusion (collectively, JEDI). Specifically, we provide this sector and its leaders with learning experiences, assessments, implementation planning, mentorship and coaching, intentional convenings, and resources. Learn more about our approach and values here.

BEETLES Project - Examining Equitable and Inclusive Work Environments in Environmental Education: Perspectives from the Field and Implications for Organizations - “By presenting these findings, we hope to increase the degree to which organization leaders and white-identifying staff can begin to gain a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of educators of color and can reconcile the ways in which they have been thinking about and operationalizing equity and inclusion in their organizations.”

BEETLES Project - Intentional Hiring and Recruitment through the Lens of Equity and Inclusion: Insights and Lessons Learned from Crissy Field Center, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy  - “This finding resonates with researchers who continue to challenge organizations to be reflective in their hiring practices and to always consider how their practices may be deterring potential applicants, marginalizing current staff of color, and reinforcing the status quo (Roberts & Chitewere, 2011; Beasley, 2016; Taylor, 2018).”

This Is What Adventure Looks Like - Outside magazine interviews activists and athletes about their experiences as people of color leading a movement to make the outdoors more accessible to all people. Fun fact: Community Nature Connection is included in this article!

This webinar was presented by Corazón Latino, in partnership with the North American Association for Environmental Education. It’s a useful resource for learning about how programming needs to be adapted to be inclusive and welcoming.

REI Presents: The Venture Out Project - This video highlights the work of Venture Out Project who aim to bring together LGBTQIA+ folks in the wilderness. They also offer Ally Resources and Ally Programs to educate and inform organizations.

Creating and Supporting Culturally Relevant Organizational Change - Check out this webinar presented by Rena Payan of Youth Outside. Learn about the series and take away tips and tools to move your organization toward a commitment to equity, inclusion, and cultural relevancy.

StoryBus Podcast: Episode 1 - Being Black Outdoors. The StoryBus podcast shares stories of inclusion and workplace equity that are shared to inspire inclusivity in the outdoors and in the workplaces of the active-outdoor industries. 

Outside Voices Podcast is a podcast featuring personal stories from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), people with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ folks and others who redefine “outdoorsy”. We’re co-creating stories with outdoor enthusiasts, educators, storytellers, activists, social media influencers, artists and more. Outside Voices Podcast is driven by one simple idea:

that the outdoors belongs to all of us. We all have a relationship to nature, whether through hiking, gardening, surfing, sacred ceremony or picnicking at the local park. We aim to celebrate and amplify those who don’t always see themselves reflected in the “Great Outdoors” narrative

She Explores Podcast: Episode 16 - Towards A More Inclusive Outdoors & What We Can Do. In the second part of a series on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors, hosts talk with experts to provide practical steps for how organizations AND individuals can cultivate a more inclusive outdoor space. There are other episodes produced by this podcast that revolve around JEDI.

Outdoor Afro has become the nation’s leading, cutting edge network that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. Read their most recent, “The Good Fight for our Humanity, Mother Earth and our Uni-verse” blog here.

Latino Outdoors works to inspire, connect, and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented. They recently shared a collaborative guide highlighting the inequity of “whiteness in the outdoors”- you can find it on their instagram page here

Brown Girls Climb is a small Women of Color owned and operated company with the mission to promote and increase visibility of diversity in climbing by establishing a community of climbers of color, encouraging leadership opportunities for self-identified women climbers of color, and by creating inclusive opportunities to climb and explore for underrepresented communities.

PGM ONE envisions a world that centers, values, uplifts, and empowers those who are most impacted by environmental harm and climate change—and in particular black, indigenous, and people of color/of the global majority—to lead the way toward environmental justice and collective liberation.

Get Out Stay Out/Vamos Afuera is a grassroots, Central Coast nonprofit, that invites Indigenous Migrant youth to run, play, and discover themselves in the natural environment. 

LGBTQ Outdoor Summit takes place in the Fall. Their mission is to cultivate connections, build community and inspire leaders from across the outdoor industry and beyond to create more accessible and affirming ways for the LGBTQ community to get OUTside. 

  • Engage, Connect , Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth as Environmental Leaders - Angelou Ezeilo

  • The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors - James Edward Mills

  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants - Kimmerer, Robin Wall

  • The Rise of the American Conservation Movement: Power, Privilege, and Environmental Protection - Dorceta Taylor

  • Colors of Nature - Alison Hawthorne Deming and Lauret E. Savoy

  • Black and Brown Faces of America’s Wild Places - Dudley Edmondson

  • Latinx Environmentalisms: Place, Justice, and the Decolonial - Edited by Sarah D. Wald, David J. Vázquez, Priscilla Solis Ybarra, and Sarah Jaquette Ray

  • Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors - Carolyn Finney

  • Mexican Americans & the Environment - Devon G Pena

  • Awakening Together: The Spiritual Practice of Inclusivity and Community - Larry Yang

  • Environmentalism & Economic Justice - Laura Pulido

  • Chicano Culture, Ecology, Politics: Subversive Kin - Edited by Devon G. Peña

  • Joyful Militancy: Building Thriving Resistance in Toxic Times - Carla Bergman and Nick Montgomery

  • La otra historia de los estados unidos / A People's History of the United States: Desde 1492 Hasta Hoy / 1492 to Present (Spanish Edition) - Howard Zinn

  • A People's History of the United States: Abridged Teaching Edition (New Press People's History) - Howard Zinn

  • So You Want to Talk About Race - Ijeoma  Oluo

  • Latino Urbanism: The Politics of Planning, Policy and Redevelopment - Diaz, David R.

  • Legacy on the Land - Audrey Peterman

  • Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry - Camille T. Dungy

  • Black on Earth: African American Ecoliterary Traditions - Kimberly Ruffin

  • White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism - Robin DiAngelo

  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race - Beverly Daniel Tatum

  • African American Environmental Thought: Foundations (American Political Thought) - Kimberly K. Smith

  • The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World - Alison Hawthorne Deming 

  • Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage - Dianne D. Glave



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