Creating Safe Spaces

a Black family in nature 

For many Black, Indigenous, people of color and people with disabilities, recreating outside may involve facing microaggressions, harassment, and in many cases, acts of violence. Whether these instances occur in our national parks or local outdoor green spaces, people face unique challenges and barriers that vary by identity group. To address disparities and chart a path forward, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) launched a multi-year Creating Safe Spaces initiative to hear from champions for greater and safer access to the outdoors.

In partnership with the NWF Board of Directors, Environmental Law and Sustainability Clinic at the University of Michigan, Outdoor Afro, The Links, Inc., Patagonia, and Black AF in STEM, the Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization Program kicked-off the initiative by uplifting the lived experiences of Black academics, outdoor recreationists, advocates, government representatives, and more. In addition to hearing views and perspectives, several solutions and recommendations were raised to address barriers, such as investing in Black-led organizations that cultivate a safe space for Black people to engage and connect to the outdoors. Experts were invited to participate in roundtable discussions and a National Town Hall on Creating Safe Spaces. Our efforts culminated in a publication distilling key findings and policy recommendations, which has been shared among decision-makers to enhance outdoor safety and accessibility.

To learn about the issues and how you can increase access and safety, view our publication Creating Safe Spaces: Centering the Voices of Black People to Address Safety and Access for Black Families and Outdoor Enthusiasts highlighting our findings and policy recommendations.


Creating Safe Spaces Roundtable Series


Dec. 8, 2020 Creating Safe Spaces Roundtable

Moderated by Dr. Mamie Parker and David Mizejewski, and featuring Shelton Johnson (The National Park Service), Dr. Harrison Pickney (Clemson University), Dr. Chris Schell (University of Washington), Candice Price (Urban American Outdoors TV), Wayne Hubbard (Urban American Productions, LLC), Sanai Kintchen (The Links, Inc. Mentoring Program)


Jan. 12, 2021 Creating Safe Spaces Roundtable

Moderated by Dr. Mamie Parker and Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, and featuring Corina Newsome (Georgia Audubon Society), Dr. Aby Sene-Harper (Clemson University), Kelly Darden (Outdoor Writer and Host of Outdoor Moments), Christopher Joe (Connecting with Birds and Nature Tours, LLC), Brianna Amingwa (United States Fish and Wildlife Service)


Feb. 2, 2021 Creating Safe Spaces Roundtable

Moderated by Dr. Mamie Parker and Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, and featuring Taishya Adams (Outdoor Afro), Earyn McGee (University of Arizona), Scott Gilmore (Denver Parks and Recreation), Grace Anderson (Consultant), Michelle Race (Black Girls Trekkin’)


National Town Hall on Creating Safe Spaces

Moderated by Dr. Mamie Parker and Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, and featuring U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, U.S. Representative Donald McEachin, Dudley Edmondson, (author of Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places), Christian Cooper (Central Park Birder, Writer and Editor)


Thank you for your support of National Wildlife Federation’s mission to unite all Americans in ensuring wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world. Learn more about how our commitment to equity and justice are a core part of our conservation mission.

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More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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