08 Jan Introducing The Joy Trip Reading Project
As we enter into the new year, we welcome the opportunity for personal growth and development. Certainly, there is no better path toward self-improvement than through the pages of a good book. In the hopes of leading a national dialog in particular on the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion in outdoor recreation, environmental conservation and social justice we are proud to announce the creation of an online book club called The Joy Trip Reading Project.
It goes without saying that 2020 was a tumultuous year. The global Covid-19 Pandemic and the resulting home confinement, travel restrictions and business closures were only exacerbated by a profoundly toxic and divisive national election. As we sheltered in place at our computer screens for more than 9 months on an endless array of online shopping sprees, sourdough baking tutorials and Zoom conference calls, I for one put on more than a few pounds of excess weight fueled by full sodium tortilla chips, Little Debby’s Oatmeal Cream Pies and microwave popcorn. Even now in the New Year, as a vaccine for the coronavirus is slowly being distributed around the world, it’s hard to reconcile the tragic loss of more than 365,000 (and counting) American lives, along with almost 2 million others across the globe.
I know with certainty that I managed to make it through this horrible year with the love and support of my family. But I am also grateful for the community of environmental activists and educators who are so dedicated to making our world a better place. Weekly Zoom call meetups, online conferences and virtual webinars helped me to stay up to date on the continuing efforts to protect and preserve our natural resources and to make outdoor recreation opportunities open and accessible to everyone. Through the summer course that I teach at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison called Outdoors For All, I was not only able share the words and wisdom of my favorite nature-based scholars, I also realized the value and importance of sharing their stories and social science with a broader audience. What better way to do that than with a book group.
Many readers of the Joy Trip Project have asked for me to share my course reading list. Organized primarily through the web-based platform Goodreads the Joy Trip Reading Project aims to encourage the discussion of books by authors who identify as Black, Indigenous or Persons of Color. These writers and educators have a specialty in exploring the intersection of the natural world and the cultural identities of the human beings that live within it. With a focus on those whose experiences in the outdoors are traditionally marginalized due to racial discrimination, this discussion group will address the root causes of the inequities of access to wild places.
Each month through 2021 members of the club will engage in a conversation on a specific title. If the author is willing, and most of them are, we will have the opportunity to experience a live, interactive forum on their book via a Zoom conference.
Here are the books we will discuss:
As a member of this reading group you will receive a notice when topic discussions are posted to the Goodreads platform. You will also receive an invitation for each of the online discussion events when they are scheduled. Please be in touch in the comments below with your questions or contact me directly via email at email@example.com
Our first Zoom conference will be with my friend and colleague Dr. Carolyn Finney, author of Black Faces White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. Join us at 5PM Eastern Time on Wednesday January 27th. Come with your questions and comments to take part in what will likely be a rousing discussion.