Strengthening Outdoor Leadership Skills
Outdoor Afro celebrates and inspires African-American connections to nature through recreation and conservation activities. Currently, the social media-based effort engages 100,000 unique monthly visitors nationally through its trips and online platforms.
Founder Rue Mapp envisioned a wider scope of Outdoor Afro outreach, however, one that seeks not just to inspire but increase the environmental educational capacity of a new and diverse leadership pool that can connect their communities to conservation in a culturally relevant way.
For 95 years, The Golden Gate Audubon Society (GGAS) has pursued a two-fold mission of protecting the natural spaces in the San Francisco Bay area and engaging its residents in recognizing the interwoven relationship between a healthy environment and healthy human communities. As a former staff member at GGAS, Rue Mapp is proud to partner again with this respected local environmental organization to help facilitate new community connections to nature.
Under the leadership of Outdoor Afro and Golden Gate Audubon staff, the Innovation Grant-supported “Outdoor Afro Leadership Team” will lead one outdoor trip per quarter beginning in May, 2012. Leaders will be given the tools they need to blog and share stories and photos from each trip through a variety of social media channels. They will also be invited to participate in a monthly conference call to share trip reports and to receive mentoring. Additionally, the team will also engage in fieldwork, such as identifying specific habitats in Bay Area that have high conservation assets to protect and that are also located in close proximity to where diverse communities live. This work will support sustainable recreational enjoyment in the context of environmental education and awareness.
“With a commitment from each member of the Bay Area Outdoor Afro Leadership Team to lead four trips per year—with an average of 20 participants per event—we expect to build a community of up to 1,000 participants,” added Rue. “The goal is to develop a model of engagement that helps shift cultural thinking and activities toward more meaningful outdoor/nature engagement for diverse audiences, and make more visible and relevant organizations that support linkages between conservation and quality of life for all living species.”