When I decided to build theparknextdoor website it was in an effort to share the bits of nature I found here in Southeastern Wisconsin with Everyone. I wanted all walks of life to find peace and beauty in nature, just as I do. There is so much of it here, after all.
With all of this recent unrest, my eyes have been opened to the sad fact that people of color are often made to feel unwelcome, or even deemed suspicious when out observing nature. It's unfair and unwarranted. Nature should be bringing different cultures and races together, not separating us further.
Recently a group of Black Birders, Scientists, and Environmentalists joined together to create #blackbirdersweek. An event shared on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. As a birder, I was excited to follow along and meet some of these amazing birders, scientists, and environmentalists. Their enthusiasm and experiences are both heartening and heartbreaking. It was a fantastic and enlightening event to be privy to.
If you follow theparknextdoor on Instragram you may have noticed that I have been sharing many of their posts and stories to my story feed. I've been following some of them for a while on Instagram, but never realized the adversity they met when simply trying to spend a day on a trail or in a park birding. Spending time in nature should bring peace and awe, not fear or discomfort.
I intend to keep sharing these amazing naturalists along with my regular Instagram story feed. If you are on Instagram I invite you to follow along, and follow them as well. Together we can dispel this notion that nature is for a specific type of person or race, certain fitness level, age, sexuality, or ability.
Nature is for All of us. Black Lives must be included in the All.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.