Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places

When you are out walking in a park in central Ohio, have you noticed a lack of ethnic diversity?  Have you noticed how the environmental, conservation (AND Leave No Child Inside) movements lack their own ethnic diversity?  Author and outdoorsman Dudley Edmondson has noticed this phenomenon and he set out to write a book about it.

Here is how some reviewers describe his wonderful and important book:

In his book Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places, Edmondson (who is African American) seeks to answer two questions, Why am I not seeing many people of color in the national parks and wildlife refuges? and, Shouldn’t all Americans be involved in decisions about wild spaces?

Edmondson seeks to answer these questions by interviewing 20 people of color whom he met in the field.  He talks with policymakers, mountain climbers, park rangers, outdoor sports enthusiasts and career people. In these interviews, he gets at the heart of what drew these African Americans to nature, how they first became involved, why they value those experiences so much and why they believe people of color are nearly absent from this country’s natural landscape.

Without pointing fingers, the book makes clear the importance of drawing minority populations into activities such as birding, hiking, camping, etc.  As the population of this country grows more diverse, as faces of color appear more often on city councils, county boards, and in legislative positions, an appreciation of the value of natural resources by people of color will become important. As the saying goes, we protect what we understand and appreciate.

These portraits are insightful, revealing and entertaining and will, undoubtedly, also provide a foundation for discussion about the future of our natural spaces.

To learn more visit Mr. Edmondson’s website.