Teresa Baker, a Richmond native and National Park advocate, has been gaining a lot of attention for her work on projects aiming to connect people of color to the great outdoors.
For both cultural and economic reasons, minorities from urban areas are less likely to visit outdoor areas like Yosemite National Park, or even protected parks closer to home, according to conservationists. Without the opportunity to experience and appreciate nature, they say, urbanites are not just missing out on memorable and refreshing experiences but might also be less passionate about conservation.
On Tuesday, Baker contacted the Richmond Standard saying she wanted to share the video below with our readers. She said it discusses the importance of bringing diverse audiences into outdoor spaces.
The Richmond-raised Baker has been on a mission to connect people of color not just to the national parks but also to careers in the outdoors and to the conservation movement.
In 2013, Baker started the grassroots organization African American National Parks Event. With help from the group’s Facebook account, Baker collaborates with various outdoor organizations, including those with similar interests such as Latino Outdoors and Oudtoor Afro, to raise awareness on nature and its opportunities.
In May, she enlisted the help of John Muir’s great-great grandson John Hanna to hold a three-day summit in Yosemite on increasing racial diversity in the outdoors. The event, entitled “Muir Campfire Discussion on Diversity, Inclusion and Relevancy,” included representation from 20 government agencies and outdoor organizations.
“Diversity in our outdoor spaces is important because people of color are lacking from the conversation on conservation,” Baker said in this story posted in the National Recreation and Park Association website. “What better way to involve people of color in these very important conversations than to engage them in the spaces we need their help in protecting?”