Essays

Aldo Leopold Nature Center, Children In Nature Initiative, Essays, Kids in Nature, Madison / 24.03.2019

When did your love of the outdoors first begin? If you’re anything like me, you don’t remember. Even having grown up in a big city like Los Angeles, California, spending time outside was such a big part of my life that I can’t really say exactly when it all started. My parents made it a priority for me to have regular access to nature through hikes in local parks and camping trips to nearby wilderness areas. From a very young age my life included many opportunities for me...

Commentary, Diversity, Essays / 05.02.2019

Thank you to the many people who read, shared and commented on my recent reporting piece for SNEWS on the CEO Outdoor Equity Pledge. I felt compelled to write it and I am sincerely grateful for the support of my editor-in-chief Kristin Hostetter. She really held my feet to the fire, insisting that despite my personal biases and emotions I remain objective and write this story with the balance it demands. As I have received several complements from both sides of this issue I take great pride in...

Books, Commentary, Diversity, Essays, Madison, Outdoors For All, River Restoration, Special Events, Wisconsin / 08.11.2018

 At the end of October I had the great honor and privilege to host a distinguished guest to the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Author and explorer Eddy L. Harris made a rare appearance on campus to share his experiences paddling the Mississippi River from its source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota to its terminus in the Gulf of Mexico at the City of New Orleans. Depicted in his film “River to the Heart” Eddy paints an intimate portrait of what awaits those willing to venture out into the unknown...

Diversity, Essays, Grand Canyon, National Parks, Public Land, Whitewater / 03.09.2018

Several weeks ago a travel magazine contacted me out of the blue. The senior executive editor of  HereMagazine.com very graciously invited me to contribute to an upcoming issue dedicated to the theme of freedom. She was particularly interested in a story from me on the National Parks and the role that spending time in nature plays in my personal pursuit of happiness. It just so happened that I had given that topic a great deal of thought in recent months and I accepted the assignment with the intention...

Diversity, Essays, Expedition Denali, Magazines, Public Land, Uncategorized / 06.08.2018

Over my coffee on a Saturday morning I reached for a new magazine at the top of my reading pile. I actually thought it was the Patagonia catalog, thrilled to see at first glance a person of color on the cover. On closer inspection, though, I realized that it was the American Alpine Club “Guidebook to Membership”.A tight close-up image of a face with apparently dark skin wearing glasses had that vaguely artistic quality that offers little in the way of relevant information but draws the viewer in...

Environmental Studies, Essays, Short Story / 06.07.2018

Most mornings I started my run about an hour before the ferry arrived from the mainland. The game wardens and lab technicians undoubtedly thought I was a bit odd. Who in his right mind would run in the jungle heat for exercise? Of all the professors, grad students, and undergraduates like me conducting research on Barro Colorado Island I was the only runner. To the Panamanians I was simply “El Negro Gringo Loco”.I arrived in Panama a few weeks earlier. I quickly came to appreciate the Latin propensity...