After almost a year of festival screenings around the country I’m very excited to announce that our film on Expedition Denali called An American Ascent is finally coming to Madison. Hosted by Edgewood College in the Anderson Auditorium on October 17, 2015 at 7PM I’ll share this documentary film that details the first team of African-American climbers to attempt a summit of the highest peak in North America. And like the expedition itself this event aims to encourage a new generation of young people to become involved in the protection and preservation of the natural world through adventure.
The proceeds of this screening will go to support the Aldo Leopold Nature Center, the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the National Outdoor Leadership School. It is my hope that each of these organizations can help to inspire the youth of our community to discover outdoor recreation and environmental conservation as a favorite pastime or perhaps even a career. In particular I want to reach out to people of color who are statistically least likely to spend time in nature but are among those who will play a pivotal role in the preservation of the natural world in the future.
For several years now I have written about issues of diversity and inclusion. But after so much research and dedicated study I feel that I am about as clueless as anyone else when it comes to finding a solution. As our population slowly shifts to favor a non-white majority it become increasingly more important to connect with those members of our society who are typically under-represented when it comes to protecting the environment. Even though I’ve literally written the book of this topic as it pertains to outdoor recreation and environmental conservation I have to admit that I don’t have all the answers. I believe what I have instead is a deep desire to help make positive strides toward creating a world where everyone is made to feel welcome and secure in the knowledge that their efforts to preserve fresh air, clean water and accessible public land truly matter. As a writer and media producer I do what I can to tell the stories of people from all walks of life who actively work to make this world a better place and in so doing I hope to encourage others to do the same.
Here in Madison I have forged relationships with several nonprofits and outreach organizations to help get area young people into the outdoors. With a seat on the board of directors at both the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and the Ice Age Trail Alliance I hope to create programs to engage youth at institutions like the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, the Center of Resilient Cities and the Lussier Community Education Center. My primary goal is to provide students with practical experiences in the outdoors and a potential career track that might lead to higher learning opportunities at colleges and universities. Ultimately I want to assist them in preparing for jobs in the outdoor industry or departments of land management at local, state or federal agencies of government. My efforts toward this ambition include the funding of an annual scholarship toward the tuition of a field course through the National Outdoor Leadership School at one of several outdoor classrooms around the world.
All that I hope to achieve is made possible only through the help of supporters like you. A percentage of the proceeds from my book, speaking fees and all ticket sales from the Madison screening of our film will go toward getting kids outside. Your contribution will make possible direct outreach initiatives through several partner organizations dedicated to creating a link between young people and the outdoors. And with any luck I believe we can build a constituency of new stewards of nature who will love and protect the environment for decades to come.
The price of the Madison event is $20. You can purchase tickets online at: http://anamericanascentmadison.brownpapertickets.com
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