The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 27

FEATURE
N
ow in its 13th year,
Outdoor Afro has
expanded into a
vast participant
network celebrating
and inspiring Black connections
and leadership in nature across
56 cities. The nonprofit is where
Black people meet in the outdoors
through life-changing programming,
from hiking to camping to
fishing to swimming, for enthusiasts
of all levels and ages.
To find out what's new this year
for Outdoor Afro, we sat down
with Taishya Adams, the organization's
national policy and education
director based in Boulder, Colorado.
She shares about how her love
of the outdoors intersects with her
job, what types of projects Outdoor
Afro is prioritizing in 2022,
and how the outdoor industry can
support those initiatives.
What does your role entail?
At Outdoor Afro, we take a
multi-systems, interdisciplinary
approach that reflects the ecosystem
we see in nature. Our national
network has been grounded by
three policy priorities since our
founding: connecting Black people
to quality, accessible, meaningful,
and engaging nature-based experiences;
amplifying Black connections
to nature; and protecting
land, water, and wildlife for future
generations.
My role is to ensure those goals
are realized through a robust education
and engagement program.
I lead the Outdoor Afro Policy
Leadership program, which deepens
network leaders', participants',
and the public's understanding and
engagement on environmental,
education, and health policies impacting
Black people and communities'
access to and leadership in
nature. Designed with our network
leadership, the program unpacks
environmental policy; connects
network leaders to policymakers
and legislators; keeps our networks
in 56 cities informed and engaged;
and explores civics and careers
in environmental stewardship.
Ultimately, I work at Outdoor Afro
to forge new pathways by disrupting
the false perception that Black
people have not and do not play
a role in the stewardship of our
lands, wildlife, and waterways or
in outdoor recreation; shifting the
representation of who can lead
and inform outdoor recreation and
natural resource management;
and working to restore the connection
between people and the planet
from our neighborhoods to the
wilderness beyond.
How does your love of the
outdoors intersect with that
role?
My earliest memories are of playing
outside with my cousins. We
spent all summer in the woods or
swimming. Though I always had
a deep connection to nature-rich
places, I lacked connection to the
extensive Black American and African
history and current contributions
to nature and the outdoors. I
was raised in a world that does not
see me as a swimmer, but as someone
with no meaningful relationship
to water beyond drinking it.
Being introduced to the book
Undercurrents of Power: The
Aquatic Culture of the African
Diaspora at my first Outdoor Afro
Leadership Training, I knew this
Taishya
Adams
ter expanded to include snow. Outdoor
Afro's Colorado network has
offered opportunities to snowshoe,
downhill ski, and cross-country
ski, centering Black American tradition
and history. I'm able to see
some of the most beautiful places
because of these Outdoor Afro
experiences.
Can you tell me about some
of the Outdoor Afro projects
planned for this year?
As Outdoor Afro enters its 13th
year, we are committed to offering
a variety of quality, nature-based
experiences. Currently, we have a
60,000 participation network with
more than 100 network leaders
guiding 1,000 outdoor events. Our
networks are located in 33 states
THOUGH I ALWAYS HAD A DEEP
CONNECTION TO NATURE-RICH PLACES,
I LACKED CONNECTION TO THE EXTENSIVE
BLACK AMERICAN AND AFRICAN
HISTORY AND CURRENT CONTRIBUTIONS
TO NATURE AND THE OUTDOORS.
organization was where I needed
to be-connecting with my love of
nature and anchoring me on the
shoulders of those who came before
me; those who stewarded the
land, wildlife, and waterways; and
those who found balance between
the needs of humans, nonhumans,
and the planet. I wanted to
educate and advocate for harmony
between the basic needs of all
beings for work and play.
Moving to my current home of
Boulder, Colorado, my love of waand
56 cities across the country.
We are excited to educate network
participants in a way that amplifies
Black joy and leadership in nature.
We are planning a Black History
Month event at the Denver Botanic
Gardens to celebrate Black connections
to nature. Specifically, urban
and rural farming in Colorado.
We are excited to expand our
" Making Waves " swimmership
program, which teaches youth and
caregivers how to swim. We are
also looking forward to participating
in the 50th anniversary of
the National Marine Sanctuaries,
lifting up the importance of stewarding
not only the land but our
oceans and great lakes.
Outdoor Afro will also continue
to host our annual Hybrid
Hill Day, which brings our
network leaders, policymakers,
legislators, and their staffers
together to build and strengthen
relationships in the U.S. Senate,
U.S. House of Representatives,
federal agencies focused on natural
resource management, and
the White House. In addition,
we will also continue to be part
of the larger efforts to steward
the land, wildlife, and waterways
though our active involvement
with various groups and initiatives
at the local, state, and
national levels.
What part can the greater
outdoor industry play in propelling
your initiatives?
We're interested in an industry
that's representative of the diverse
communities they say they want to
serve throughout the org chart and
that can expand beyond access to
ensure representation, meaningful
participation, decision-making
power, and quality experiences.
We must expand success models
to balance impacts to people and
planet with profit, ensuring a culturally
competent outdoor industry
that understands and applies
that learning to every function of
the business.
Visit outdoorafro.com to learn
more about the network, as
well as Taishya's policy and
education work.
OUTDOOR RETAILER SNOW SHOW 2022 /
27
COURTESY TAISHYA ADAMS
http://www.outdoorafro.com

The Daily - January 28, 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - January 28, 2022

The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover1
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover2
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 1
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The Daily - January 28, 2022 - 64
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover3
The Daily - January 28, 2022 - Cover4
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailysm2022_Day2
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day1
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/daily2022_Day3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/april_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/march_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/february_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/january_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/december_2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/preshow2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/outdoorretailer/day3_summer2019
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