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By: Ava

21 AugConnection the dots: white supremacy and monuments


In the wake of Charlottesville this past weekend, I have been thinking quite a bit about how these events connect to the work our partners and clients do. So, in this third installment of our “connecting the dots,” series, we’d like to talk about monuments and memorials. Last week the Unite the Right movement rallied against the dismantling of a confederate monument that Charlottesville, Virginia’s residents had voted to take down. The argument for dismantling a Confederate monument seems to be an easy one that is long overdue– the...

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08 FebConnecting the dots: what do immigration rights have to do with the environmental movement?


Art featured above by Ernesto Yerena Montejano Grab some snacks. This is a longer than a usual blog post, but we think all of it matters. Last July, we wrote a blog post connecting Black Lives Matter to the environmental movement. In our second installment of the Connecting the Dots series, we are connecting issues of immigration and refugees to the environmental movement. In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, President Trump has issued a flurry of troubling executive orders, including three that relate to immigration and ...

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11 NovOur post-election commitment


We will return to regular posting at the beginning of 2017, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a letter we wrote this morning to our partners and share our current thoughts. Dear vauled partners and colleagues, In the wake of the elections, we know a litany of concerns are on your mind. Many of you are curious what the new administration’s position will be as it relates to public lands management, conservation, and recreation. Others of you are concerned for the well being of the youth you support, many of whom fear they will be de...

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07 JulHow do we move forward? Do the work.


I was going to take the day off from work today, turn off my computer, and relax but I can't. I can't ignore the continued racist police brutality. So today I worked. My work today, as it is everyday as white-identified person, is to continue to navigate how I can dismantle systems of power and oppression. Days like today it's easy to feel lost and overwhelmed about what to do, but it's these days that the work is the most important. I spend the morning reading about police brutality, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Some of the articles...

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15 JunWhy reverse -isms don’t exist


We are in the middle of our busiest month, where we are scheduled to give 12 days of workshops for 10+ organizations. We're about half way through and have noticed one common theme in the questions we are asked. Many of our partners and participants want to know: do reverse _____isms exist? That is, can a women be sexist against a man? Or can a person of color be racist? Though the questions are all slightly different, we always give a similar answer, which is: "No. Reverse '-isms' do not exist."' Of course a simple "no" is not enough to ans...

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29 AprHow to eat an elephant: tackling DEI work


Last month we did another free webinar with Transforming Youth Outdoors. This time we talked about how to get started in DEI work. When we first started thinking about doing all of this work, we heard so many different approaches. Some organizations are highly focused on engaging a more diverse population, some organizations are focused on improving hiring practices, while others are concerned about the inclusive nature of their programming. These are all great strategies, but to be successful in DEI work, an organization needs to engage in mul...

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16 MarOn self-care


This week both Aparna and I are engaging in some self-care. Aparna’s was planned - she is out in canyon country with her family, enjoying a few days away from the computer before we hop back into a whirlwind of travel and work. I am taking some less-than-planned self care time as I battle a cold. But first, what is self-care? Well, there are a lot of definitions, but I always think about self-care as the work I do for myself that allows me to be fully present in all aspects of my life, including my work at Avarna. Being present at work ...

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18 FebThe real story behind the Yosemite trademarks


On March 1, 2016, in the wake of Delaware North’s exploitation of trademark laws, many of the iconic places in Yosemite National Park—including Curry Village, the Ahwahnee Hotel, the Wowona Hotel, the Yosemite Lodge, and Badger Pass Ski Area—will be renamed. There are (understandably) many people and organizations who are frustrated with Delaware North’s monetization of a public good. But in all the public outrage, we may be overlooking an opportunity to look deeper into history of place-naming. A toponymn refers to the name of a pla...

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21 JanWhat can outdoor and environmental organizations learn about inclusion from MLK’s experience?


Photo above: Martin Luther King, Jr. marching from Selma to Montgomery with John Lewis, Reverend Jesse Douglas, James Forman and Ralph Abernathy. I had a very different idea about what I was going to write about this week to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; I was about halfway through writing the post when I reached for Carolyn Finney’s Black Faces, White Spaces to verify some dates. As I was thumbing through the pages, I found a page that I marked with an alarming number of exclamation marks. Curious about what had gotten me so...

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21 DecHow to Give When You’re a Nonprofit . . . With No Money to Give


Recently Latino Outdoors’ founder José Gonzales shared his passion for collective impact at the Outdoors Empowered Network summit. Collective impact is a model by which deeply entrenched societal problems are tackled through innovative collaborations across nongovernmental organizations, agencies, private enterprise, foundations, communities, and other stakeholders. Though not without its flaws, collective impact is also a framework to think about giving and gratitude when you’re a nonprofit with no money to give, especially during the ...

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