Join Shelton Johnson and others who hope to inspire urban youth to have an interest in the national parks and experiencing the outdoors, by contributing to the production of a feature-length documentary about the first African-American expedition to tackle North America’s highest peak at Denali National Park. Please click the link at the end of this video to contribute now.
Tag Archive for the 'African American' Tag
Click the following link to see Blair Underwood’s uproarious take on the plight of the black hiker in the outdoors.
A creative videographer gets to the heart of the relevance of national parks to American youth in this video.
To inspire youth of color—and particularly African American youth—to get outside, get active, and become stewards of our wild places, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) will run an expedition with African American participants who will attempt to summit Denali, the highest peak in North America, in June, 2013, the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of the peak. This journey will involve a group of role models in the African American outdoor community learning and using valuable leadership skills, including expedition behavior, communication, and tolerance for adversity and uncertainty, to work together toward achieving a common goal.
As one participant says in the following preview video, “The mountain doesn’t care if you’re Black,” but the example set by these black mountaineers could inspire a new generation to care about the outdoors. See more by playing this video.
Lander, Wyo.—The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) is taking dramatic steps to inspire youth—specifically African American youth—to get outside, get active, and become stewards of wild places. The school intends to accomplish this by running the first predominantly African American expedition on Denali, the highest peak in North America.
Expedition Denali: Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors will create role models for communities historically underrepresented in the outdoors through a 2013 summit attempt and subsequent outreach and educational initiatives.
“Through post-expedition speaking and media engagements across the nation,” explained NOLS instructor and Diversity and Inclusion Manager Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, “Expedition Denali members will inspire youth of color to connect with the outdoors and take on outdoor pursuits they may have never imagined possible—in recreation, education, policy, conservation, land management or government.”
The expedition participants are united in their dedication to connecting African American youth to the outdoors, to mitigating projected obesity rates and health risks among these youth, and to inspiring a generation to protect the world’s wild places. Team members include diversity champions, change leaders in the youth and outdoors movement, educational reformers, writers, photographers, business leaders, and mountaineers who have made historical ascents.
No team of predominantly African Americans has ever summited Denali, and NOLS is proud to spearhead and lead this attempt. NOLS was the first commercial outfitter on the mountain in 1971 and has regularly run expeditions on Denali since. The success of NOLS’ Denali expeditions can be attributed to the fact that NOLS does not simply “guide” participants up the mountain. It runs its Denali expedition like any other course, training participants to become technically versed in mountaineering skills while they acclimatize and running participants through the leadership curriculum so that by the end of the expedition, participants become team leaders.
The longest and most strenuous day on Denali will be the summit day, a five-mile round-trip to the summit and back to High Camp. NOLS intends to partner with organizations to mobilize youth of color nationwide to take their own “10,000 steps to Denali,” on the same day. “Armed with pedometers, youth will hike 10,000 steps in wild places near their homes to commemorate this historic event,” said Rajagopal-Durbin
Ultimately, the goal is not the summit on that day in June of 2013. “The goal of the expedition is to engage a broad constituency in a public dialogue about diversity in the outdoors, specifically in the field of outdoor recreation and education, and to make a profound impact on the lives of today’s underrepresented youth, who are tomorrow’s adventurers,” Rajagopal Durbin said.
Founded in 1965 by legendary mountaineer Paul Petzoldt, NOLS is a leader in wilderness education, providing awe-inspiring, transformative experiences to more than 15,000 students each year. These students, ages 14 to 70, learn in the wildest and most remote classrooms worldwide—from the Amazon rain forest, to rugged peaks in the Himalaya, to Alaskan glaciers and Arctic tundra. Graduates are active leaders with lifelong environmental ethics and outdoor skills. NOLS also offers customized courses through NOLS Professional Training, and the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS is the leading teacher of wilderness medicine worldwide. For more information, call (800) 710-NOLS (6657) or visit www.nols.edu.
“You shouldn’t have to convince people to go to paradise,” says National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson in a heart-touching video released by the National Parks Conservation Association. The video shows how visiting national parks like Yosemite fills people with pride of the accomplishments of their ancestors in preserving these great places for all humanity.
America’s National Parks were featured at a major luncheon program at the National Tour Association convention in Las Vegas this month, marking the first time in anyone’s recollection that the national parks were given such focused attention before the nation’s tour industry.
Response to the national parks program was truly sensational, generating high interest among tour operators and U.S. destinations to meet with National Park representatives attending the show.
On the convention floor throughout the week were representatives of the National Park Service: Rich Wiedeman, Donald Leadbetter and Desmond Lee, who fielded questions and provided guidance to the tour industry about how they can best connect people to parks. Also there were John Poimiroo and Susan Cronin of the NPPC.
While other exhibitors were able to leave their booths early to attend evening functions, that wasn’t the case for Weideman, Leadbetter and Lee who were so busy that they were among the first manning their booths and the last to leave, each day.
Sponsoring the event were Yellowstone National Park Lodges/Xanterra Parks and Resorts, Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, Forever Resorts, Glacier Park Inc. and Brand USA/DiscoverAmerica.com, who were recognized during the luncheon presentation and were able to have their materials displayed at a very busy America’s National Parks booth.
The luncheon program included inspirational video of the national parks edited by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, followed by an introduction by NPPC Chief Executive Officer Poimiroo, who recognized NTA initiatives to bring more youth and minorities to the national parks.
National Park Service Interpretive Ranger Shelton Johnson from Yosemite National Park electrified the audience, moving several to tears with his emotional Call to Action, describing the obstacles people of color must overcome in order to feel welcomed to visit the parks and encouraging the tour industry to use its resources, knowledge and abilities to connect all Americans to their national parks.
Following Ranger Johnson’s presentation, he was stopped so often that he had difficulty getting back to the America’s National Parks booth which was surrounded at times by tour operators and destinations seeking to discuss how they might better connect people to the parks.
The next NTA convention occurs in Florida in 2013, though discussions are already underway as to how to top this past month’s presentation. Destinations and businesses interested in benefiting from partnering with America’s National Parks are encouraged to contact NPPC VP of Partnership Development, Sue Cronin [email@example.com or (203) 256-8402].
To read what Examiner.com wrote of Ranger Johnson’s presentation, CLICK HERE.
THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING WHO HELPED MAKE THIS POSSIBLE:
The recently released “Comprehensive Survey of the American Public,” conducted by the Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center at the University of Wyoming for the National Park Service is raising public awareness discussion of why so few minorities visit national parks, particularly natural parks.
In “Where are the people of color in national parks?,” MSNBC.com travel writer Rob Lovitt points out findings within the study which indicate that despite efforts by the National Park Service and its partners to encourage more minorities to visit parks, fewer minorities visit national parks than are represented in the U.S. population. “Visitation figures are skewed even further when the visits in question are to parks that showcase wilderness and outdoor recreation,” Lovitt writes, “For example, at Yosemite National Park in California, a 2009 visitation survey showed that African Americans totaled just 1 percent of visitors, compared to 77 percent white and 11 percent each for Hispanics and Asians. The reasons would easily fill a book… but the end result is that the national parks run the risk of losing their connection to the American public.”
As another sign of the times, an organization that has taken under-served residents in the Miami region to national parks for the past 11 years has lost its transportation sponsor necessary for the group to visit Biscayne National Park on Saturday.
Cash donations of $5,000 from the National Park Conservation Association and $4,800 from the National Park Trust, in addition to in-kind donations of commemorative t-shirts and water fell $5,300 short of being able to expose the group of some 850 minority residents of the Miami area to the park. $1,600 of that sum is needed for transportation.
More about “Operation Green Leaves,” the group seeking support, is found at http://www.oglhaiti.com. Contributions can be made to Operation Green Leaves by contacting Nadine Patrice at firstname.lastname@example.org.