Been Outside ~ A discussion with co-editor Amber Wendler

Been Outside ~ A discussion with co-editor Amber Wendler

On Thursday November 30, 2023, The Joy Trip Reading Project hosted an online discussion with Amber Wendler co- editor of the anthology “Been Outside ~ Adventures of Black Women, Nonbinary and Gender Nonconforming People in Nature”.

Encompassing four major themes—identity, inspiration, ancestry, and stewardship—Been Outside explores the relationship between nature, science, and self through essays and poems from leading Black women and nonbinary scientists. Edited by Wendler and Shaz Zamore, stories from 22 writers showcase both the challenges and joys of carving out your own path—and will inspire any reader looking to craft their own outdoor life.

This collection highlights the vast expanse of the outdoor experience. Camille Mosley contemplates the rich fishing history of Black Americans and how that relates to their career in freshwater ecology. Sharon Dorsey reflects on how it felt to finally meet a wildlife professional who looks like her. Tanisha Williams shares her powerful emotional journey of returning to South Africa to study plants. These essays and more reflect on the outdoor experiences through both a personal and intersectional lens while looking at the historical context of being a Black woman or gender nonconforming in the outdoor space. Been Outside also looks forward and promotes collective action toward making the outdoor community more inclusive and welcoming to all, and invites readers to join.

AMBER WENDLER is a PhD candidate in biological sciences at Virginia Tech and earned a BA in biology from Boston University. She has studied organism and plants in Latin America and across the US. Wendler is passionate about making STEM and the outdoors more inclusive. DR. SHAZ ZAMORE is a teaching assistant professor and STEAM coordinator at Colorado University–Boulder. They apply their background in neuroscience and STEAM communication to their company, Craniate, which makes culturally responsive neuroscience comics and experiment kits for marginalized learners. Zamore is a seasoned snowboarder, runner, and fire performer.

Our gathering also included author and cultural geographer Dr. Carolyn Finney who wrote the forward to “Been Outside”. As artist-in-residence on environmental affairs at Middlebury College in Vermont, Dr. Finney offers a great insight and a well-informed perspective on this fascinating topic.

Dr. Carolyn Finney photo by  Nicholas Nichols
Dr. Carolyn Finney photo by Nicholas Nichols

Author discussions on the Joy Trip Reading Project are made possible thanks to the support of the Schlecht Family Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and The National Park Service in partnership with the Together Outdoors and University of Wisconsin Madison Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies.

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