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Narratives Worth Exploring

Diversity, Environmental Justice, National Parks, Outdoor Recreation, Podcast, Yosemite / 26.09.2009

Back in January of 2009 I had the pleasure of speaking to Ken Burns. He sat with me for an interview about his documentary film "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." A program that first aired last year on PBS television stations nation wide this five-part series reveals in stunning detail some amazing historical facts. But what came out of that conversation was an awareness for the role people of color played in the creation of my favorite wild and scenic places.

Commentary, Diversity / 26.09.2009

Pity all National Park Service, Nature Conservancy or US Fish & Wildlife conferences don't conclude with a massive bar tab and a soul train line at one in morning. The new generation of environmental activists is dynamic, diverse and determined to breath fresh energy into the preservation of our wild and scenic places. Who says they can't have a good time while they're at it? Photo by James Edward Mills See the unfolding photostream at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nwsr8th/sets/72157622325056863/...

Commentary, Diversity / 25.09.2009

Carolyn Finney In the middle of the last century, Carolyn Finney grew up on a wooded estate in Manhattan. Though not a child of privilege, this professor of geography at the University of California at Berkeley recalls fond memories exploring the wild places on the property her father managed for a wealthy landowner. As the only African-American family in this affluent community Finney also remembers feeling less than welcome in this setting surrounded by nature. “It was not natural for us to be there,” she said. As the keynote speaker in the second day of programs during the “Breaking the Color Barrier to the Great Outdoors” conference in Atlanta, Finney shared her memories of a life in wilderness tainted by the racially motivated injustices of our past. “Those memories continue today,” she said. “And for a lot of people memory is truth.”
Commentary, Diversity / 24.09.2009

Photo by James Edward Mills Appointed in 1997 Robert G. Stanton was the first African-American Director of the National Parks Service. Today he is the deputy assistant secretary of policy and program management in the U.S. Department of Interior. As the keystone speaker and a panelist during the Breaking the Color Barrier to the Great Outdoor Conference in Atlanta, he inspired a new generation of young people to continue a long legacy of service to the principles of environmental conservation and the preservation of wilderness....

Commentary, Diversity / 23.09.2009

Outdoor diversity advocates Franks and Audrey Peterman welcomed a unique gathering of their peers to the city of Atlanta. A few hundred individuals from across the country, mostly African-Americans met to express their love and appreciation for nature  in the opening session of the Breaking the Color Barrier to the Great Outdoors conference. In her remarks Audrey Peterman shared a common observation with those assembled . "Frank and I would visit these wonderful National Parks and we would see so few people of color," she said."We wanted to do...

Commentary, Quote of the day / 22.09.2009

DeepWater

“I believe that (anyone’s) life will be filled with constant and unexpected encouragement, if he makes up his mind to do his level best each day, and as nearly as possible reaching the high water mark of pure and useful living.”

Booker T. Washington ~ American educator and reformer, first developer of Tuskegee Normal (1856-1915) Photo by Christine Lucas I should be packing my bags for an 850-mile Joy Trip. Flooding in Atlanta have me a bit nervous to make the drive. I’m afraid this photograph is a precursor of what lies ahead.  I’m not sure what to expect. But that’s what makes it an adventure. I’m heading to the “Breaking the Color Barrier to the Great American Outdoors” conference, perhaps into to deep water. And I’m going to try hard not to pick a fight.