February 24, 2021
Beyond Black History Month
Read, Listen and Explore Black Voices in Nature
Illustration of a girl spying through binoculars in jungle setting

Daniel Bernstrom

Author and Learning Resource Center coordinator at Minnesota State College
“Going to the library as a child, the small selection of books I found featuring black or brown characters were usually about the titans of black history: Dr. King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington. I am thankful for these books. In them, I read about successful black heroes whom I could celebrate and emulate. They exposed me to the successful African Americans that I did not see around me. But when I think back to the everyday stories that featured black children, like me–the only story that comes to mind is Ezra Jack Keats’ beautiful book The Snowy Day. As a child, I yearned for these types of every day, small stories to help me find belonging.”
- Quote from "My Papa, African American Storytelling, and the Everyday Time Machine," Harper Stacks

Read: Gator, Gator, Gator!

Illustration of boy in outdoor garb throws up his arms in victory stance

Carmen Bogan

Author, Publisher, Lecturer and Founder of Dream on Publishing
"I discovered through my interaction with parks professionals and others that many children, even those living close to famous national parks, never had opportunities to spend time outside."

- Quote from "Q&A With Carmen Bogan, Author Of Where’s Rodney?" Ronnie's Awesome List

Dream on Publishing is an independent multicultural book publisher established in 2013. Their goal is to promote literacy for children of color by producing high-quality children's literature that reflects their interests, their history and their lives. 

Read: Where's Rodney?

Book Cover

Camille T. Dungy

Poet, Author, and Scholar
"If we look at history and say, well, black people can only write about the natural world and think about slavery or think about being a runaway, you forget that other component—that there has always been promise and survival in the natural world. That some people knew where to look and how to look. And so that is as much a part of these poems: the hope and the potential for a real connection and collaboration, as much as this devastating and horrible history, is there.”
- Quote from "'Black Nature: Poems Of Promise And Survival," Morning Edition, April 19, 2010

Read: Black Nature: Poems of Promise and Survival

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African-American Nature Poetry is the first anthology to focus on nature writing by African American poets, a genre that until now has not commonly been counted as one in which African American poets have participated. Camille T. Dungy has selected 180 poems from 93 poets that provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history to broaden our concept of nature poetry and African American poetics.

Noami Grevemberg and Anaïs Moniq

Noami is a writer, podcaster, and founder of Diversity Vanlife
Anaïs is a community manager and writer

Listen: Nomads at the Intersections 

Nomads at the Intersections shifts the narrative and navigates the challenges, journeys, and inspirations of the modern nomadic movement—while diving deep into the stories of underrepresented voices. 

Episodes cover topics surrounding diversity in the road travel community, representation, all things vanlife, mental health, allyship, and so much more, featuring interviews with nomads and outdoorists from all walks of life. 

Shelton Johnson

Author and Park Ranger for the National Park System
"I basically was inheriting a history that had been expressed and communicated to the public but for whatever reason did not take root…When I saw that photograph in our research library of the five guys that were on horseback who were part of the 24th infantry - they were mounted but they were part of the infantry - I realized that this was the story. This was the story that I could use as a tool to create a doorway through which African-Americans could pass into the whole idea of national parks, because I realized early on that it had now become an issue of relevance.”

Quote from "Gloryland Brings Yosemite National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson Full Circle," National Parks Traveler, May 19, 2017

Read: Gloryland

Gloryland tells the story of Elijah Yancy who was born on Emancipation Day 1863 and walks west to the Nebraska plains eventually joining up with the US cavalry. His troop gets posted to the newly created Yosemite National Park in 1903. Here, living with little beyond mountain light, running water, campfires, and stars, he becomes a man who owns himself completely, while knowing he’s left pieces of himself scattered along his life’s path like pebbles on a creek bed. 

Brittany Leavitt

Blogger, Outdoor Instructor, and an American Alpine Club-DC section “One to watch”
Affiliated with Outdoor Afro, Color the Crag, and Brown Girls Climb

Listen: “Finding Black joy in the outdoors with Brittany LeavittOutside Voices, Season 1, Episode 4

Mikhail Martin

Software engineer and Co-founder of Brothers in Climbing
“I literally typed, ‘Are there black climbers?’ in Google …
someone said, ‘black people don’t climb.'” 

A small group of climbers began to challenge that thought. The Brothers of Climbing mission is “to increase diversity in rock climbing and the outdoors by creating more opportunities for inclusion and representation. In the process we want to bring the community together.”

Watch: Brothers of Climbing film, directed by Duncan Sullivan

Leah Penniman

Author and Founding Co-Director & Farm Manager of Soul Fire Farm

Soul Fire Farm is an Afro-Indigenous centered community farm located in upstate New York. Their food  programs “reach over 10,000 people each year, including farmer training for Black and Brown growers, reparations and land return initiatives for northeast farmers, food justice workshops for urban youth, home gardens for city-dwellers living under food apartheid, doorstep harvest delivery for food insecure households, and systems and policy education for public decision-makers.”

Read: Farming While Black
Farming While Black is the first comprehensive "how to" guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. 

Watch: Follow the Drinking Gourd

A feature documentary about the Black food justice movement. Family-friendly, funny and moving, this 60-minute film connects the legacy of slavery, land loss, and climate change to our fight for food security. You can find it on KweliTV which streams online, or can be found on Roku, AppleTV, Comcast Xfinity, Google Play and the AppStore.

Dorceta E. Taylor

Author and Professor at Yale University, School of the Environment
“Recent events should erase all doubts that race—blackness in particular—is inextricably connected with racism, violence, and gross inequalities in the home, on the street, in the park, and elsewhere in the outdoors. The events ... make it impossible for environmentalists to concern themselves only with the trees, flowers, wildlife, fresh air—and not the people and their experiences in the natural and built environment.”
- Quote from Resources Radio podcast #82, "The Challenge of Diversity in the Environmental Movement, with Dorceta Taylor"

Read: The Rise of the American Conservation Movement

The Rise of the American Conservation Movement examines the emergence and rise of the multifaceted U.S. conservation movement from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. She shows how race, class, and gender influenced every aspect of the movement, including the establishment of parks; campaigns to protect wild game, birds, and fish; forest conservation; outdoor recreation; and the movement's links to nineteenth-century ideologies.

Black voices, books, film, podcasts
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July 8, 2021
Congratulations to Dawn K. of Houston, TX for winning a copy of Wild Wonders of Maryland in our Goodreads giveaway!

May 25, 2021 - Our new book, Wild Wonders of Maryland, is available for purchase!

May 5, 2021 - We changed our name! This gives us the opportunity to expand our content and explore even more of Earth's wild places. We may have a different name, but our vision remains the same -- to learn about and celebrate this beautiful planet.