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25 Sep“But we’ve always said ‘biner!’” exclusionary words in outdoor recreation and education


Actually written by Guest Contributor Monserrat Alvarez [caption id="attachment_2568" align="alignleft" width="225"] Monserrat (Guachichil/Mexica) is an outdoor educator from the South who works for a more equitable and inclusive Outdoors. She currently works at cityWILD as their program assistant where she combines her love for the Outdoors, youth development, and social justice.[/caption] The ways we show up for communities and marginalized folks starts with our words. Our words hold power. Our words have impact. We cannot use ignorance...

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19 SepNature’s calling — for diversity to be about more than just race


Dear CNN, Like many colleagues, we were thrilled to see that the topic of diversity in the outdoors has made it to mainstream media with your article “Nature's calling -- for more human diversity.” And we were even more pleased to see so many partners and friends gaining a national platform for this very important conversation, and contributing some key insights. AND . . . we would be remiss if we didn’t say a big “yes, and . . .” to add to and complicate the oversimplified narrative that you and other media outlets continue to prop...

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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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24 MayEquity means supporting single identity spaces


We know diversity allows organizations to think out of the box, be more creative and innovative, problem-solve better and see around corners. But leading with diversity can undermine equity, especially when it comes to single identity experiences for people with marginalized identities. To be clear, today we're talking about single-identity spaces for people with marginalized identities. Single identity spaces for white folks or men, for example, is another topic for another blog post. Here, we’re referring to spaces created by and for pe...

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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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18 JanWhat Does President Obama’s Memo Mean for You?


Implementing President Obama's Memo on Diversity & Inclusion in Public Lands & Waters Dear valued partners and friends: We’re writing to announce that we’ve created a new free toolkit that we hope will help all of you. As many of you know, last Thursday, President Obama made an impactful statement on diversity, equity, and inclusion in our public lands and waters when he issued his Memorandum on Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Water. The memo directs fede...

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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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12 JulConnecting the dots: why black lives must matter to the environmental movement


There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives. - Audre Lorde (photographed above) In the days since the police shot and killed Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, we’ve seen the gamut of reactions on social media: from outpourings of sympathy, to grief and despair, to anger and rage, and more. As we’ve monitored the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, we’ve also been reflecting on what role we at the Avarna Group have to play in this civil rights movement. Here’s where we’ve lande...

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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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01 JulFrom the knapsack of privilege to the backpack of bias


When we ask workshop participants whether they have done an activity called "the privilege walk" before, hands inevitably shoot up, accompanied by furrowed eyebrows, skeptical glances, and other hallmarks of concern. I can almost see the thought bubbles above their heads: Are these women going to make me do the privilege walk . . . AGAIN? The sin qua non of every diversity trainer's repertoire of activities, the privilege walk, has a long and storied history. It builds off of Peggy McIntosh's touchstone 1988 essay, "White Privilege: Unpacki...

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