The Black Paddle Expedition

Every year, Outdoor Afro Volunteer Leaders from across the country come together to embark on incredible journeys where they engage in fellowship, explore connections to Black history, and celebrate Black joy in nature. In previous years, leaders have organized...

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Outdoor Afro x Nissan

Watch Outdoor Afro channel the tenacious spirit of York of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as we return to rugged and kayak 100 miles on the Missouri River in partnership with Nissan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msVsKwNqels

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Outdoor Afro Essentials: Build a Fire

By Chaya Harris Prefer to watch a video? Check out fire making with Antoine Skinner! You arrive back to your campsite in the evening after a long day’s hike, ready to build a fire to cook dinner and enjoy s’mores. Or maybe you have your loved ones over for some cozy,...

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Lifting as We Climb – #OAClimbsKili

By Tarik MooreThe time to our Mt. Kilimanjaro expedition in Tanzania is winding down pretty quickly. I am very excited about this expedition. It will be my first time traveling to the continent of Africa and my first multi-day climbing expedition as well. I am looking...

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REI Outessa Rocks for Women

Rue with Angela from KEEN It’s been a week since I had the chance to visit Kirkwood, California at the Outessa event, hosted by Outdoor Afro partner REI. In collaboration with several outdoor brands, this was a curated weekend of activities geared toward women of all...

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Outdoor Afro is Hiring! – Oakland, CA

Title: Donor and Project Experience Coordinator Type: Part-time, administrative Location: Oakland, California Application Window:  Open until filled What is Outdoor Afro? Outdoor Afro uses innovation and entrepreneurial insight to engage African-Americans of all ages...

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#SwimmingWhileBlack: Diving In

Inspired by Black History, Outdoor Afro Gary, Indiana Leader Yolanda Crocker-Bradley learns to swim and changes her relationship with her favorite local shoreline. Why did you decide to take swim lessons?For years, I had toyed with the thought of actually learning to...

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Trail Mix: Natural November

 Get in the Mix as we run a 5k in the Redwoods, CampOut under the stars, Picnic on the Lake and #OptOutside Atlanta, Georgia Providence Canyon Campout, Hike and Star Gaze November 7Hike at Black Rock Mountain State Park November November 14Essential Camping Skills and...

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The Trail Mix: Outside in October

You're invited to Prowl Owls, Pick Apples, Carve Pumpkins, and Glamp Out with us this month. Atlanta, Georgia Essential Camping Skills and Introduction to Backcountry Cooking with REI October 3  Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery Open House October 10 Pick Apples at...

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The Trail Mix: Savory July

Get in the Mix with Outdoor Afro as we kayak under the full moon,  hike to waterfalls, and  gather around the campfire. Atlanta, Georgia Experience The Bahamas: Picnic at Camp Exposure in Lithonia Georgia July 11 Atlanta Beltline Tour July 25 Bay Area, California Bill...

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The Trail Mix: June Crunch

SCOOP IN with Outdoor Afro as we celebrate Juneteenth, discover local tide pools and lead Black Music Month inspired hikes this month! By Outdoor Afro Leadership Director Zoë Polk Atlanta, Georgia  Day Trip to Chattanooga Tennessee  June 13 Healing Hike and History at...

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Spotlight: Outdoor Afro Richmond!

Meet Deidre "Dee"  Bryant. Mother, Wife, Traveler,  Adventure Seeker and Second Year Outdoor Afro Leader. Located in Richmond, Virginia, Dee and her local Outdoor Afro community have  ice skated, hiked, kayaked in some of Virginia's most beautiful places. Dee recently...

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#OutdoorAfroEarthDay

by Outdoor Afro Atlanta Leader Stefan Moss I have a complicated relationship with Earth Day. Although I have always valued the opportunity to celebrate our beloved planet, I have also been very aware of who the traditional movers, shakers, and “leaders” of the modern...

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We Need Nature Now More Than Ever

Call to Action Join Outdoor Afros around the country on December 13th for a Healing Hike #HealingHike Right now we are living in times that are hard to understand. Recent events in Ferguson and in New York have re-opened wounds of fear and doubt that have divided our...

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Beach Biking and Dancing

Who says you need to camp to enjoy nature? Denene Millner, an Atlanta based mom, wife, and author is a long-time sister blog comrade of ours. Her posts this weekend from Kiawah Island via a Residence Inn stay were so inspiring, we could not resist sharing them with...

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Pumpkin Learning and Carving

By Outdoor Afro Leader Zoe Polk So many wonderful smells, tastes, sights and adventures come to mind when we think of October! We take long drives to view the fall foliage. We get excited in heading to farms and picking our first apple off the tree. We review family...

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Our Wild and Civil Rights

As we commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act, we might also consider another historic piece of legislation, the Civil Rights Act, which was signed in the same year. Given that the two movements were locked in time together, were...

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Nelson Mandela

Today, our hearts are heavy to learn about the transition of Nelson Mandela, with whom we are honored to have shared the same planet. Mandela will be forever known as a beacon of freedom, and a symbol of transcendence toward peace. Father Mandela, we salute you at...

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In Gratitude

If you want to go fast, go alone If you want to go far, go together African proverb On the tail of brisk autumn winds, we at Outdoor Afro welcome the holidays in the dawn of winter as a time to slow down, give thanks, and set intentions for the coming year. I often...

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That’s a Wrap Chicago!

By: Outdoor Afro Leader Viva Yeboah This past Saturday, Outdoor Afro Chicago wrapped up 2013 with a hike along the Cap Saucer and Swallow Cliff loop in Palos Park, IL. This loop is linked with several other trails that make up Cap Saucer Holdings Nature Preserve, the...

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TRE Los Angeles and Outdoor Afro

Alisha here, Outdoor Afro leader of Los Angeles. Sunday we were invited by the amazing Nkem Of TRE Los Angeles to learn tension release exercises. We were hosted by the stunning Village PlayGarden in the beautiful Altadena foothills. We had a really great group that...

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A Hike to Honor our Heroes

by Outdoor Afro Leader Zoë Polk At Outdoor Afro, we always take the opportunity to turn a day off into a "day out;" that is- a time to join together with our community in nature. This Veterans Day was a particularly unique day out for us because we set our intention...

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Big Bird in the River

By Outdoor Afro Leader Clay Anderson Last weekend, ten Outdoor Afros felt the tug to expand their horizons, enhance their awareness, and find inspiration. Thousands of Sandhill cranes, ducks, geese, and wading birds felt the urge to avoid the cold, find something to...

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Bicycling the Underground Railroad

   "Every great dream begins with a dreamer..." - Harriet Tubman This morning we were delighted to receive a message from Erick Cedeño, who said, "I traveled back to the 1800's from New Orleans, LA to Niagara Falls, NY...along the Underground Railroad by bicycle...

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A First Time Visit to Yosemite

Submitted by Terry Rogers-Womack, who shared with us on our Facebook  page pictures so inspiring, we wanted to learn more. Today, with our hearts heavy with concern for Yosemite; its protectors and stewards, we decided to share her story about this jewel of our...

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Road Trip Tips and Tricks!

Our friends over at Love's Gumbo have produced a video to help you make the most of your road trip adventures. We especially appreciate their advice to stay alert to the unexpected, and mix up your fun with our National Parks along the way! What might you add to their...

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Nature in Two Ways: Both Right

We just came back from Outdoor Retailer, the largest outdoor lifestyle show of its kind in the country where leaders discussed how the industry might welcome people who are both “outdoorsy”, and “outsidey” This message rings true to our work that always strives to...

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Into the Wilderness We Go!

Take an escape to the wilderness of Northwestern Montana with Outdoor Afro guest blogger Lamar Gore, an assistant refuge supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - originally posted on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service blog. As a kid, I spent my formative...

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Nature is a Healer

We have all been riveted to newsfeeds everywhere about the Trayvon Martin case this week, searching for answers and trying to figure how best to respond. In a timely share, we received a touching video on our Facebook page that demonstrates how youth from the stressed...

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A Family That Camps Together…

We were so tickled to receive the video below via our Facebook page from Wendi Nicole, a mom, wife, and professor at George Mason University who loves to camp. Wendi shares, "We began camping five years ago (in Virginia and Maryland) and quickly recruited others....

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Girls Day Out in Nature

We were tickled when Outdoor Afro Mika M. of the San Francisco Bay shared this fun image of her and her friends before taking a tour on a zipline this weekend. For many, ziplining is a terrific way to take in the panoramic view of a forest canopy, with the...

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Letting Go and Letting Camp

  Because even seasoned moms like me experience the tension and challenges of getting kids outdoors in a world filled with so many concerns and reasons to be afraid. Most of you all know I have children - three of them. And each has been involved with some form...

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Full Moon Hike

By Los Angeles Outdoor Afro Leader, Alisha Pye Watching the full moon rise into the sky is a beautiful sight. Hiking in nature while watching the full moon rise and the sun set is exceptional. It's Alisha, Outdoor Afro Leader of Los Angeles. I was invited by the Santa...

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Vintage Spring Beauties

Simply outside Lately, I have come upon many collections of photos online of black people, especially youth, connecting to nature in a variety of ways. Some images are sent to me by members of the OA community, and others I have found after researching image...

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A Sunday Spring Surf

So glad to spend time once again with my former co-worker and dear friend Manav Thapar to help re-connect my 9 year old son Billy Hunter to the art and fun of surfing! Read about the last time I knew Billy Hunter (the deepest sleeper of my brood) was excited when he...

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David Lindo: The Urban Birder

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes - Marcel Proust David Lindo, also known as The Urban Birder came to the San Francisco Bay Area yesterday to do a talk about his experiences birding around the world in urban...

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Hiking in winter is possible…

Hi y'all, I'm Alisha the Outdoor Afro leader from Los Angeles. Hiking in the winter is possible without bundling up in winter coats. Well, when you live in sunny Southern California it is! So a group of us decided to start hiking every few weeks and figured with the...

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Falling in Love with Lassen!

Lassen Volcanic Park continues to be the hidden gem enjoyed by the Outdoor Afro community. For the second year in a row, we partnered with National Park Service staff to lead a snow shoe walk among in the park’s beautiful red fir forest and for the second year in a...

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When Camping Goes Wrong

Sometimes things just don’t go according to the plan. You can buy or borrow almost any product that adapts to an outdoor lifestyle and experience, but sometimes oversight, lack of experience, or unexpected weather conditions can cause the best laid camping plans to...

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Winter Trails Day Was a Blast!

I am still tickled from our time this past weekend in the California Sierras as eleven Northern California Outdoor Afros participated in the annual Winter Trails Day by REI, coordinated by Outdoor Afro leader Rahman Batin and hosted by the co-op's Sacramento market....

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2012: An Amazing Year!

As many of you know, this year marks a big transition as I fully embraced Outdoor Afro as an important part of my purpose, and since, the quality of my life has improved as it allows me to spend more time enjoying my family, and nature!  But beyond the scope of my...

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Thankful

Dear Friends, I am so grateful for you, and the forward evolution of Outdoor Afro. Together, we are a part of an amazing and diverse community who love and advocate for connections to nature. To be of service to this cause is a true gift, and I am thankful to be on...

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Atlanta Outdoor Afros Hike-Inn!

While I was celebrating with the Root 100 last week, Outdoor Afro Atlanta had the opportunity to gather up by invitation at the Len Foote Hike Inn!   About 20 Outdoor Afros showed for an autumn retreat, some traveling from as far as Florida to enjoy a day and night...

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Outdoor Afro Thanks Our Veterans

This Veterans Day, we remember and are grateful for all soldiers who have served our country. From Crispus Attucks, to the Buffalo Soldier, to those who stood firm at Port Chicago. For all the unnamed, yet heroic men and women who have served in both peace times and...

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Let There Be Light! Or Not?

Outdoor Afro friend Audrey Peterman challenges us in her latest blog to rethink our relationship to nature in terms of our ability to survive natural disaster. Read on: Among the glaring lessons we should learn from Hurricane Sandy is that our technology-focused...

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Our Point Pinole Hike Was Dynamite!

Guest Blog Submission and photos by Outdoor Afro Leader, Cliff Sorrell of a recent trip lead in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Outdoor Afros recently took on Point Pinole Regional Shoreline in Richmond, CA – it was such a great time! About thirty-five people of all ages...

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We Made The Root 100!

This week, we learned Rue Mapp, Outdoor Afro founder and CEO, was selected as one of TheRoot.com 100 black achievers and influencers between the ages of 25 and 45! See the entire list! Founded in 2008 under the leadership of Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard...

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A Day at Lake Thoreau

On the morning of Saturday September 15th, 2012 Outdoor Afro South Mississippi converged on the shores and trails of the Lake Thoreau Environmental Center located in Hattiesburg, MS. The air was cool and crisp. Birds were flitting in the trees all around us. The lake...

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Wade in the Water Children

The warmth of late summer offers a promise of cool lakes, rivers, oceans, and backyard pools to cool us down, but unfortunately it seems many folks never jump in them. The Outdoor Afro community has taken note of a recent rash of outdoor related posts and videos these...

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"I’m Not Really a Birder"

This is how I began my group introduction this weekend at a summit of leading bird and travel bloggers from around the United States in Tucson, Arizona. In this crowd, I considered labeling myself a birder risky, like I might be ousted as an imposter from the group of...

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Introducing Hike4Life

Outdoor Afro is pleased to partner with so many great folks and orgs, such as Hike4Life.  After so many months of communicating via social media,  Jerel Ferguson, Hike4Life founder was able to generously share a guest blog on Outdoor Afro, and his inspiration to...

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North Carolina Outdoor Afros!

Check out this trip report of a recent outing lead by Outdoor Afro leader  Beky Branagan in her own words. Our Story At 9:00 AM on Saturday, June 23rd, we met at the rest station at Umstead State Park, Cary, NC. Four of us attended including myself and my child,...

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A Week on Venice Beach

By Outdoor Afro Contributor Reginald James Well, I didn’t really “spend about a week on Venice Beach,” but I always liked that line from Notorious B.I.G.’s “Going Back to Cali.” For me, Venice Beach has always been something of television and Hollywood fame. But I’ve...

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Black Folks Don’t Camp

Check out the newest installment of the series, Black Folks Don't... by Black Public Media. Of course, we here at Outdoor Afro know that black people DO camp, and I know some Outdoor Afros will be offended by the title alone. But I invite you all to take it as a funny...

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Outdoor Afros in the Redwoods

  Outdoor Afro Leadership Team (OALT) member Zoe Polk led her second outdoor event last weekend in Oakland, California's Redwood Regional Park - a unit of the East Bay Regional Park District. Each OALT member is committed to lead one trip per quarter and write a blog...

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Outdoor Afro Comes to DC!

During the week of May 14th, Outdoor Afro's Rue Mapp is grateful to participate in the EECapacity Project that assembles 60 national environmental education leaders in Washington, DC for training in environmental leadership, cultural capacity, and community building....

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Rodney Stotts: Brother Falconer

An ancient sport, Falconry is the keeping and training of birds of prey. Rodney Stotts is a Black falconer from Southeast Washington DC. He is the program director at Raptor and River/Environmental Education in connection with the Earth Conservation Corps along the...

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Hug a Tree This Weekend

I never considered myself a tree hugger before, but 150 year-old "Grandfather Beech" changed my mind! This tree is a resident favorite at Atlanta's Outdoor Activity Center, which houses the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance and Keeping it Wild two organizations that are...

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MLK Holiday: A Good Day to Serve

Posted originally on the 2012 King Holiday. Where will you serve in 2013? Stay tuned for an upcoming blog of Outdoor Afro activities this year! ~*~*~ Tonight I am still feeling lifted from my experience this Martin Luther King Jr. memorial morning when I joined over...

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Still. Moving.

When I saw this nighttime image of Ocean Beach in San Francisco, it took my breath away. Using real film, the artist Africano Fotografia,  set his shutter to bulb for five minutes, and here is what we have (click for larger image): If you look at the upper right...

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The Snowy Day

The Snowy Day, by author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916-1983) is a book I loved to read as a child, and in recent years have enjoyed with my own three children. Today marks the book’s 50th Anniversary, and is the first children’s picture book of its time to...

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2011: The Year of Relevancy

Dear Outdoor Afro Friends, 2011 has been a terrific year! Through the power of social media, we have seen our community steadily grow, and help people make culturally-relevant connections to nature and outdoor recreation. Throughout my travels this year, the hot topic...

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After Turkey Kayaking

About a dozen Outdoor Afros met this sunny, crisp morning in Oakland, Calif., for a post-Thanksgiving paddle. We had a wonderful mix of folks of all ages, and embarked on a one-hour kayak with stunning views of the Oakland skyline reflected on the glassy waters of...

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Thanksgiving and the Outdoors

Originally posted Thanksgiving, November 25th, 2009...Enjoy! Thanksgiving in my family is more than the delicious turkey, pies, and cobblers my sister Delane makes; it is also a celebration of food that preserves the memories and experiences of those who have passed...

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Birds in the ‘Hood’

I have come to love birding, especially in areas close to where I live. This weekend, me and two other Outdoor Afros (Clay and Abu) came together as a result of our online planning to enjoy birds and nature near home at the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park, a...

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#Occupy Nature

It does not matter if you choose to take to the streets, the #Occupy Movement has captured the imagination of everyone, and is not going away any time soon. The #Occupy prompt has become a symbolic directive to give voice to a wide range of concerns; from corporate...

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Our Photo Contest Winner!

Submitted by Donna Petagrew via Facebook, she writes: "My son George at the Tooth of Time summit peak (9,000 ft), Philmont Scout Ranch, Philmont New Mexico. This represented a summit in character as he had carried his teammate's gear in order for both to reach the top...

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October’s Bird of the Month

Last month's bird was the very common Warbling Vireo.  The proverbial pendulum has swung dramatically to the other side with this month's rare Indiana bird. I sometimes have difficulty deciding on which bird to mention for a "Bird of the Month".  Trying to decide...

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Looking Into the Past

A photo of Edward Barnieh's sister and mother, 8 months pregnant with him, taken in February 1978 by his dad in an urban park in Bloomsbury, UK. He holds that picture up in the exact same place February 2010. What memories do you have of your family enjoying nature?...

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Black People Do

As I speak to more people these days about African Americans and the outdoors, a question that most often leads the conversation is, “Why don’t African Americans engage with nature?”, which admittedly prompts me to let out a little sigh... Since founding Outdoor Afro,...

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Spotted on Sunday (SOS)

Glad to report my 8 year-old-son Billy had his first surfing experience today, courtesy of my awesome co-worker Manav Thapar. Billy had no fear, and much tenacity, as he learned and was successful standing up several times on the board! I was too busy cheering him on...

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Greenway Ride a Success!

In collaboration with the East Bay Regional Parks, Urban Tilth, and Richmond Spokes, Outdoor Afro helped to produce today’s “Greenway to Greenway” community bike ride.   The ride was suited for all ages, and designed for riders to explore the benefits of local...

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An Alaska I Never Knew

Alaska is not much for words. It is entirely about the experience. We have all grown up with the iconic byline of Alaska rendered on a US map in a tiny square smaller in scale than the state of California, almost as if an afterthought. But the state is much bigger...

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Outdoor Afro is in Alaska!

Hi Friends! I am off now on a four-day run in Alaska to take a quick survey of some of the adventure and beauty the state offers. We have a full itinerary that includes hiking along glaciers, viewing wildlife, and halibut fishing. Please follow us on Twitter (Hashtag...

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A First Time RV Experience

It’s been a wonderful summer of travel for Outdoor Afro, but the highlight was our RV Trip to the Sierra Nevada region in California last week! Check out our story... First off, my family remains filled with gratitude for the support of Camp California, the leader in...

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Birding Basics

I always remind people that there are many ways to engage with nature. I have found bird watching to be a very satisfactory pursuit in that it compels me to engage with nature in an observant and deliberate way. Here is an article by Outdoor Afro contributor Max Wood,...

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Outdoor Afro Goes RVing!

THIS Weekend! - and you get to come too!   On Aug. 12th to 14th I will take Outdoor Afro to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada with my nephew and three children for a three-day camping trip at Ponderosa Resort in Lotus, California! Camp-California.com and...

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Get Out. Get Green. Get Paid.

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending time on Maryland’s Eastern shore with colleagues, Akiima Price, Chief of Education Programs at the New York Restoration Project, David Greaves, the Black Employment Program Officer for the EPA, and Nick Clemons, a National Park...

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Back From Family Camp

I just drove in from my time in nature with the kids at Feather River Camp where we spend a part of every summer. On the way home, I reflected with gratitude on how adaptive the camp experience is. For a change this year, instead of high impact adventure, tie-dye...

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Raising Sand

I remember my southern mom always used the term, raising sand to describe someone having a fit. When I saw these images shared by facebook friend Aimee Allison, I almost wanted to shout in response to these stunning photos of real sand. This is the same sand that...

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The Center for Whole Communities

July 2011, Session One Fellows: This month I had the good fortune to engage with leaders in sustainability from around the country with the Center for Whole Communities at Knoll Farm, located above the Mad River Valley in Vermont. Over the course of a week, under the...

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A Weekend Dip in the Lake

Submitted by Outdoor Afro contributor Reginald James, who reflects nostalgically on a recent swim in a local lake with friends. A few weekends ago, I went swimming with a group of friends at Lake Anza at Tilden Park in Berkeley for the third year in a row. The idea...

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Invasive Species

Last spring, I helped to organize a local event as part of a national campaign to get people connected to nature. As much as I wanted to share how wonderful the event was, how well attended and rich the experience, until now I was unable to do so because there was a...

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What Happened to the Stars?

Outdoor Afro contributor, Roger Porter reflects on how the night sky in his old Oakland neighborhood has changed, and the key role stars played for runaway slaves and in African antiquity. There are theories that credit ancient Egyptian advanced knowledge of astronomy...

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Childhood Matters!

School is out! Summer is a great time to be outside together as a family. Listen to Nurse Rona and guests, Avery Cleary and yours truly on Childhood Matters as we discussed how to embrace, explore, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors together! Click to Listen!

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June’s Bird of the Month

While standing on extremely long, thin, pink legs and sporting an elongated delicate-looking bill, this month’s bird appears to be the epitome of elegance and refinement. This month’s Bird of the Month is the aptly-named Black-necked Stilt. “Delicate”… “Elegant”…...

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Confessions of a ‘Glamper’

By Tracey Friley Outdoor Afro Contributor and Founder of One Brown Girl Adventures I made the switch some time ago without even realizing it. I guess I should have figured it out sooner, but it wasn’t until I went to Santa Barbara recently that I suddenly realized...

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Monta Ellis as Landscape Canvas

Photos of a large tree tattooed on the chest of Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis on the Tattoos by Randy Myspace page are making a big stir today. Thanks to urban forester Kemba of Urban Releaf for the initial sharing! The tat has now inspired her to recruit...

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Certified Life Guards

Outdoor Afro Tracey Friley wants you to know about another shade of lifeguard. These are the qualified staff that make her youth outdoor travel program purr... Learn more about her program, OBG Adventure Camps that provide travel and learning adventure excursions for...

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May’s Bird of the Month

Springtime is the hardest time for me to select a BOTM. The great spectacle of spring migration is going on, and so many wonderful birds are making “First of Year” appearances on my Year List. All of these birds, many of them plumaged in the fullness of their breeding...

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Games Outdoor Afros Play – Dominoes

As I read the proposed itinerary for the US Journalists Experiential trip to Barbados sponsored by the Barbados Tourism Authority, I got quite excited to see that we would “Learn to play Dominoes the Bajan Way” hosted by the Barbados National Domino, Whist and Hearts...

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Games Outdoor Afros Play – Dominoes

Dominoes the Bajan Way (image courtesy of Lisa Overman) As I read the proposed itinerary for the US Journalists Experiential trip to Barbados sponsored by the Barbados Tourism Authority, I got quite excited to see that we would “Learn to play Dominoes the Bajan Way”...

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Outdoor Fun in Barbados: Fun at Sea!

The Barbados Tourism Authority took a group of US Journalists on an Experiential Tour of the beautiful island and we enjoyed the best of Bajan culture and activities, including Outodoor Fun at Sea! Barbados is a small island, 14 miles wide and 21 miles long; however,...

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Unnatural State of Mind

Contributed by Roger Porter, who discovers something amiss during his recent trip to the beach with his daughter. He shares a thought provoking perspective. Please leave a comment below with your reactions. Today I found myself at Natural Bridges State Park near Santa...

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Show-Me Skiers of St. Louis

By Outdoor Afro Contributor Danielle N. Lee My first time skiing was an experience. I'm from the south, so frolicking in the cold or snow wasn't a bog part of my childhood experience.  However, I love the outdoors and I love trying new things, so I joined a group of...

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Looking Forward to Camp

By Outdoor Afro contributor Kevin Gordon Now that the grass is greening, the birds are returning, and the smells of spring are in the air, it gets more and more exciting to prepare for camp. It's really magic contemplating what will happen this summer. What child will...

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April Bird of the Month

By Douglas “Birdman” Gray, Outdoor Afro Contributor As I reflect on my birding experiences over the last month, I’m greatly challenged once again to select a “Bird of the Month”. I’ve had some wonderful experiences while birding over the last month. Not only have I...

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March Bird of the Month

By Douglas “Birdman” Gray, Outdoor Afro Contributor Last month’s Bird of the Month was a duck (American Black Duck), and my birding over last month somewhat compels me to remain with this family of birds (anatidae). As winter is winding down, and temperatures are...

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An Urbanite Discovers the Outdoors

For Ray Burks, outdoor adventures in college forever transformed her relationship with nature. Here is her contribution to Outdoor Afro in words and in pictures. As an ubanite born and raised in a concrete jungle, trips to the real wilderness were few and far between....

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The Rose That Grew From Concrete

By Tupac Shakur (1971-1996) Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature's law is wrong it learned to walk with out having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that...

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Memories of Summer Camp

Our newest Outdoor Afro contributor, Justice Fergie, recalls fondly her years at camp, and what it means for her own children today. My Girl Guide troop at sleepaway camp. That's me in the bottom left-hand corner. Don't laugh! Ok, go ahead. Remember sleep-away camp?...

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Let’s Move Launch Anniversary!

I was fortunate to attend with several others from around the country a White House briefing for First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative last December. In the meeting we learned more about Let's Move accomplishments, and contributed ideas for next steps. I...

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February’s Bird of the Month

By Douglas “Birdman” Gray, Outdoor Afro Contributor Many, when they take a look at this month’s bird will say, “Hey, I know what kind of bird that is.” “It’s a duck…and it’s a Mallard at that!” You’d be right with it being a duck, but it’s not actually a Mallard. This...

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PLAY AGAIN

What are the consequences of a childhood removed from nature? One generation from now most people in the U.S. will have spent more time in the virtual world than in nature. I had the good fortune of screening the eye opening PLAY AGAIN locally with my own kids, and...

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Every Child Should…

  Discover California's Past Splash in the water Play in a safe place Camp under the stars Explore nature Learn to swim Play on a team Follow a trail Catch a fish Celebrate their heritage According to the California Roundtable on Recreation and Tourism, "Numerous...

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January’s Bird of the Month

By Douglas “Birdman” Gray, Outdoor Afro Contributor While I love birds and birding, if I'm honest with myself, I find that I'm a bit jealous of birds sometimes. The reason for my jealousy is the fact that, "Birds have wings...and tend to use them." On occasion, I have...

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The Bracebridge Dinner

When visiting the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park years ago with my sister Delane in the summer, we both noticed the promotional materials for the winter Bracebridge Dinner and absentmindedly added it to our bucket list as an experience to have at least once...

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Equinox and Rebirth

Even though we lived in the city, my father remained true to his southern roots and was devoted to growing all types of things from the soil. And he consulted his Farmer's Almanac and later the Weather Channel regularly to inform his urban gardening plans. I have to...

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“It’s Beautiful Out Here”

The Nature Conservancy is doing some terrific work to help youth connect to the outdoors and foster the next generation of environmental leadership though its LEAF program -- Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future, a comprehensive environmental leadership...

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December’s Bird of the Month

Douglas “Birdman” Grey, Outdoor Afro Contributor As one who spends a lot of time outdoors, I've noticed that nature seems harsh at times. Even with birds, their lives can sometimes seem brutal. And some birds even appear to be equipped with "Weapons of War". Keen and...

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Image is Everything

By Outdoor Afro Contributor, Javaughn Fernanders There is an uneasy predictable phrase I hear after requesting my family’s presence in the great outdoors: “You don’t see us out there!” Seeing. We are told not to believe what we see, and yet we trust our eyes not only...

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Tips for Cold Weather Hiking

Inspired by recent Outdoor Afro Facebook and Twitter conversations, Virgina State Parks let me know about a recent article they posted, written by John Gresham, about how to enjoy the wonderful changes in the weather -- thanks VSP for allowing us to share such a...

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November’s Bird of the Month

While leading a team building exercise (birdwatching of course) at work a few months ago, the group encountered this month's Bird of the Month. Someone said to me, “I didn’t know we had birds like that around here.” This month's bird elicits that kind of comment from...

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Who Are You Anyway?

People always ask me who visits Outdoor Afro? Well, here is a snapshot of who Quantcast thinks you are (don't ask how they come up with these numbers), although the data is actually pretty consistent with my own survey results from last year: Compared to other...

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Oprah Goes Camping in Yosemite!

A memo from National Parks Director Jonathan B. Jarvis shares: "On October 29 and November 1, Oprah Winfrey will devote two entire shows to her overnight camping trip in Yosemite National Park earlier this month. Ms. Winfrey’s visit originated with a letter of...

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Her Eyes Were Watching God

Outdoor Afro Contributor and Author Brandelyn N. Castine, author of U.G.L.Y talks about how a spiritual salute to the outdoors began her day in a whole new way. I am the first person to tell you that mornings are not my favorite time of day. Usually after hitting the...

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Keeping It Wild Gala!

Dianne Glave, Atlanta-based environmental author and Outdoor Afro friend, attended the annual Keeping it Wild Gala last night, a fundraiser for the organization that was created in 2005 by several Atlanta citizen-advocates who perceived the need to bring together...

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October’s Bird of the Month

By Douglas "Birdman" Gray, Outdoor Afro Contributor As I reflect on my personal birding over the last month, I have to say it was a very good month. My last 30 days ofbirding reinforced something I've shared with folks before, "September is my favorite month for...

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Black Cowboys Ride Into Town

The Black Cowboy Association began its Oakland parade tradition back in 1975, sponsored by various community organizations over the years as a showcase of civic pride that pays homage to the southern country roots of many area residents. The Black Cowboy parade is...

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A Glorious Equinox Hike

This week has been so packed with activity for me and my family, I have hardly had a moment to sit down and capture its highlights to share with the Outdoor Afro community. But alas! -- A moment has opened to reflect in print on the equinox, which brought forth the...

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Belle Isle State Park

Cheryl Lockett-Oliver, 30-something wife, mom and Richmond, Virginia resident of 20 years shares with Outdoor Afro some shots of her and her school age sons hanging out recently on Belle Isle,  a small island and Virginia State Park in the James River once used in the...

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Outdoor Nation Special Report

Remember the Outdoor Nation Youth Summit of over 500 youth from all over the US last June in New York City's Central Park I attended? Well, the event organizers, the Outdoor Foundation, just released the data collected from the participants, and the findings are...

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My Square Mile

Contributed by Michael David Cobb Bowen, the political & cultural blogger 'Cobb'. He brings up the timely topic of youth getting outdoors, through a personal reflection of play as a child in Southern California. Spence asks a critical question about our trust in...

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Bird of the Month – September

Douglas "Birdman" Grey, Outdoor Afro Contributor If you haven't noticed...birds tend to fascinate me. This month's feathered friend is like no other. It must be the engineering side of me that marvels at the feats of this month's tiny avian creation. We in the...

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Outdoor Obamas

Just scanned the White House photostream on Flickr, and these lovely photos caught my eye. So nice to see how the adult Obamas model outdoor engagement for their own children. Check back for more "Outdoor Obama" sightings!

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The Negro Motorist Green Book

Check out this intruging New York Times article brought to my attention by an Outdoor Afro community member about The Negro Motorist Green Book, a book that helped black people find where and how to move about the United States for travel and leisure in the Jim Crow...

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All Things Fair — In Missouri!

By Danielle Lee, Urban Science Adventures I've spent the last week at the 108th Annual Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri. It was a lovely week. I was there doing science outreach, participating in the 4 Days of Hands-on Science Fun which included a Street...

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Brother Yusuf’s Corner

As Outdoor Afro has grown, I have been delighted by the swell of women represented in both the digital and "real" community who love all aspects of the outdoors. It's been so refreshing to see women, especially brown women, as "doers" when it comes to outdoor...

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Summer Camp Graduation!

Nestled in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Swindler Cove Park represents the crown jewel among New York Restoration Project’s (NYRP) public park projects, encompassing five beautiful acres along the Harlem River. "Check out the Swindler Cove camp graduates! Behind them...

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All Things Fair

I grew up going to the Lake County fair held each year in that county’s largest city, Lakeport, California, but when back in Oakland, I attended the Alameda County Fair in the outlying sleepy suburb of Pleasanton. These fairs I attended during dusty summers have meant...

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Women of Color Backpacking Trip!

By Chelsea Griffie, Outdoor Afro Contributor This year’s Women of Color trip by the Balanced Rock Foundation was July 21st to 25th. Our group ventured to Ostrander Lake also in Yosemite (see below). The premise of these trips is to increase the representation of women...

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Kites, Nights, and Cameras!

This week was event-filled for Outdoor Afro where we connected with friends, family, and the community to have fun, and expand the message of outdoor engagement. The week began with some high-flying times with family and close friends for the Berkeley Kite Festival on...

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Our Family Camp Vacation

We returned from our camping vacation a week ago, and in spite of a week of work and resuming the usual routine, it was not until today that I felt like I was finally back from the wilderness. I find that camping for extended periods lingers in the imagination like...

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Bird of the Month

Douglas "Birdman" Gray is one of my favorite birders, and he has agreed to share his "Bird of the Month" each month with the Outdoor Afro community. Birding is a hobby almost anyone can do no matter the age, and it can open up a whole new world of recreation and...

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Happy 4th of July and BBQ Sauce

Regardless of how patriotic you are, the 4th of July represents family gatherings, fireworks, and great food -- all to be experienced outdoors. Growing up, my family spent nearly every 4th of July at our place in Clearlake, California. Cousins and close family friends...

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Summer Fun in Tilden Park

Yesterday could hardly be considered warm in the Bay Area, with temperatures never jumping above 68 degrees where I live. But it is summer and a weekend, thus me and the kids in my care craved more than a park, we wanted to be near a body of water. So my kids, along...

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Outdoor Nation!

June 19-20, 2010 New York City Outdoor Afro had the wonderful experience this past weekend to be a part of Outdoor Nation, a youth summit designed to reconnect America’s youth to the great outdoors and inform organizations of what youth care about most. This was also...

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Botanical Gardens: An Urban Refuge

Looking for something fun to do with friends for Memorial Day, we finally decided to visit the Tilden Park Botanical Garden in Berkeley, California. A botanic garden is a terrific place to go for an easy refuge from nearby urban spaces, and a chance to visualize the...

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The Black Cyclone

In keeping with the theme of cycling, I was just "tagged" on Facebook by fellow cyclist and ED of Richmond Spokes, Brian Drayton in the following photos: The photos are of Marshall “Major” Taylor, which were a pleasant surprise, as I had no idea that he even existed!...

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Outdoor Afro Birders!

Outdoor Afro/Golden Gate Audubon Birdathon Trip Saturday, May 8, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Martin Luther King Regional Shoreline Yesterday a group of Outdoor Afro fans from the San Francisco Bay Area convened at Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline. The occasion was the Golden...

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Angelou Ezeilo is Greening Youth

I met Angelou last year at the Breaking the Color Barrier Conference, although I got to know her better recently during our time in Washington DC last month. Angelou's work as Executive Director of Greening Youth Foundation is changing the world. I hope you will enjoy...

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Douglas “Birdman” Gray

"African Americans have a somewhat unknown heritage in the historical realm of birding" Outdoor Afro interviews Douglas Gray, an avid birder, who shares in his own words the gratification he experiences birding, and why it is an important and relevant activity for...

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Love Yo’ Mama

Outdoor Afro took a short trip over to East Oakland, California to participate in the community event: Love Yo’ Mama, hosted by the organization Communities for a Better Environment for Earth Day. "Green is Good for the Hood" was this year’s theme, which was intended...

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Black Surfers!

By Paul Richardson "The sport of kings” I am pretty sure some of you have heard that phrase before, but did you know that in some circles, it also refers to the sport of surfing? Earliest reports say that the first recorded observation of people surfing was 1779 in...

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The Brothers of Strawberry Creek

An African-American owned, eco-friendly inn and boutique hotel? After some recent Outdoor Afro Facebook fan chatter about Strawberry Creek, I decided to dig a little deeper and reach out to Rodney Williams, one of the property owners. Rodney was happy to shed light on...

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Happy Birthday Outdoor Afro!

The reach and audience of Outdoor Afro is greater than ever before, and comprised of a diverse, smart mix of folks who hail from all over the globe. These last few weeks have represented some compelling milestones for the Outdoor Afro community: 1 Year Old 100 Blog...

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Spotted on (Easter) Sunday

Danielle Lee of Urban Science Adventures shares an SOS moment at the St. Louis Gateway Arch and Jefferson Nation Expansion Memorial with her family! Danielle is a Biologist and studies Animal Behavior, Mammalogy, and Ecology at the University of Missouri - St. Louis....

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The Easter Egg Hunt

The blog below originally posted in April 2010 -  We hope you will enjoy time in nature and with family today as we will! Not only is this time of year sacred to people of faith, it also represents a deliberate interaction with the outdoors in the form of a game: the...

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Mr. One Thousand!

I joined Outdoor Afro because my mother told me about some of the stories and she is a member. Outdoor Afro has so many interesting people and stories - Brightzen, Age 15 If you are a part of the Outdoor Afro Facebook crew, you might have noticed that recently we hit...

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Never Too Late to Ride a Bike

Outdoor Afro Bike Ride a Wild Success! While I am still recovering from the planning and fun of the bike ride on Sunday, I could not let another day go by without sharing and thanking everyone involved with the event to make it a success in every possible way! The...

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She’s So Fly

that it almost makes me fly to be on the same blog page as her... I'm talking about Ms. Bar B., fellow Cal student and mom extraordinaire. I credit her as a key instigator who opened a window into the world of "blogging while black", but most importantly she helped to...

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Family Fun in the Snow!

Just got a trip report from Outdoor Afro Christyna Serrano, who decided to head to the Tahoe region in California last week for some end-of-season fun in the snow with her family: So why did you guys decide on a trip to Tahoe? Well... Joseph, owed me one, so I cashed...

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Spotted on Sunday – SOS!

Spotted! While riding my bike with my kids this morning on the San Francisco Bay Trail, I noticed lots of people of color on the trail with the same idea. Some were walking, others taking in the stunning weather and view. On our way back home, I ran into Robin and...

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Walking in the Rhythm of Life

I only live a couple of flat miles away from my job at the local Audubon, so with the warm arrival of spring in the Bay Area, I have no good reason not to take the stroll to and from work. Besides, I can definitely use the exercise after enjoying a winter filled with...

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2 Farms in 2 Days: Urban Tilth

My six-year-old son Billy and I recently had the privilege to lend a hand to "raise" a garden at Kennedy High School in Richmond, California. We arrived mid-morning at a southern exposed site nestled near the school’s track. The work area swarmed with students, school...

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Outdoor Afro Blog Carnival!

Welcome to the Inaugural Edition of the Outdoor Afro Blog Carnival! Wooo hooo....confetti falls... So what is a Blog Carnival anyway? Well, I learned it is a terrific way to spread your blog wings into new topics, while connecting with more people. And that's all I...

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Every Moment is Now – Part 2

  Here is Part Two of my interview with Audrey Peterman, author, Breaking the Color Barrier Conference Founder and inspirational speaker. Rue: For some, physical mobility might decline after mid-life. What might you suggest to someone who feels they are not...

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Now is the time…

….to register for camp! Whether it be a family camp, like Oakland’s Feather River Camp in Northern California, or Camp Atwater on the East Coast, there are many opportunities to connect with the outdoors that require you to act now as spaces are already filling up!...

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Before Blogs, There Were Diaries

People ask me all the time: “How did Outdoor Afro begin?” Quite frankly, it began in the pages of a diary I wrote up when I was about 9,  and continued sporadically into other diaries over the years, until I became a young adult, when I discovered newsgroups, email...

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Every Moment is Now

Last week, Outdoor Afro had a chance to chat with Audrey Peterman, author, motivational speaker, and founding organizer of the monumental Breaking the Color Barrier in the Great American Outdoors Conference held in Atlanta, Georgia last September. Here is the first of...

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Sister Snowboarders!

Snowboarding is not just for the fellas. Outdoor Afro caught up with Tomar Brown (30) and Karen Anderson (36), of Washington D.C. who have found excitement and fun on the slopes. When asked how they each got involved with snowboarding together they said it started...

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Prayers for the People of Haiti

The sorrow I feel for the loss of life and suffering is hardly describable, but I am heartened by all the innovative ways people and nations are stepping up to lend a hand using social media. Partners in Health is one organization that has been in the practice of...

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Avatar and Environmental Justice

In an interview yesterday with Dianne Glave author of Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage (August 2010), she shared some of her insights with me about the movie Avatar, and its connection to people of color and the environment....

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The Best is Yet to Come

Happy New Year! I am so excited about all that lies ahead for 2010. I've got some pretty cool stories in the works to provide more inspiration and visibility of people of color outdoors, as well as some new partnerships to help make it easy for people to get outside....

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Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa

I don't know about you, but I have been caught up in the exciting rush of holiday activities! Like Thanksgiving, I can't wait to bring our family and friends together to catch up, eat great food, and laugh until our sides hurt. Unfortunately this means less time for...

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Matthew Reese: Snowboarder

Matthew Reese of Seattle, Washington might have gone his entire life without laying a foot on a snowboard. In a recent phone interview, Reese said he used to think: black people don’t ski, snow is too cold, and snow sports conflict with basketball season! But earlier...

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Reconnecting at Mammoth Caves

The Tennessee Aquatic Project is a youth organization that engages at-risk and inner city youth with a wide range of outdoor and civic activities to enhance personal development. After meeting up at the Breaking the Color Barrier Conference last September, Ken Stewart...

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It All Comes Out in the Wash

I was going to write about sustainable landscaping – and I still will, but something else came up: The Laundry. Washing clothes is actually my least favorite chore right along with mopping the floor, taking out dripping trash, and investigating that “noise” in the...

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Outdoor Afro Halloween!

Some folks my age think Halloween is radically different now than when we were kids, but it really isn’t. Kids still love and anticipate dressing up, getting a ton of free candy, and a sanctioned roam of the streets after nightfall. For me and my friends, it’s one of...

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It’s About the Youth

Breaking the Color Barrier in the Great American Outdoors Day 2 The second day of the conference swelled with more people and energy. The morning speakers each powerfully conveyed forward looking messages of sustainability for organizations, family heritage, and the...

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It’s a Family Reunion!

I am still trying to wrap my mind around all that I saw and experienced in Atlanta these past few days at the Breaking the Color Barrier in the Great American Outdoors Conference. To distill everything into a few lines would be impossible. Because several Outdoor Afro...

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