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In: environment

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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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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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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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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07 JanWhat Does Cultural Relevancy Mean Anyway?


This post is dedicated to Vu Le at Nonprofit With Balls, whose bold nuggets of gold we can only aspire to produce, and who has inspired us to fearlessly “go there.” Disclaimer: For those of you engaging in cultural relevancy work without a working definition, this blog post is intended to call you in, not call you out. “Cultural Relevancy” is a phrase that is being bandied about in the outdoor and environmental sector. But the more I hear it, the less I believe we’re all on the same page as to what it means. Try Googling "cultur...

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