One way that at PRNSA we are working to change this approach is by partnering with nonprofit youth organizations working in communities of color to design multiple visits to foster a continuing connection to the park and nature. These programs are co-developed with our partners to make them interesting and relevant to the youth they serve.
Thanks to generous funding we can provide transportation and pay for the planning and delivery of the programs, but the learning will be two-way. I'm so excited to discover what makes a park visit really impactful to each group as this feedback will inform future programs. I’m grateful to all our partners, including Outdoor Afro and the County of Marin, who I’ve been in touch with recently to advise and support our efforts. I'm also proud of our staff and board who are working to expand our hiring and volunteer recruitment. Through including a diversity of perspectives at all levels of our organization we can build a park – and world – that is more sustainable.
The Riches of Diversity
I’ve been thinking about why our work to make parks more welcoming is important to me. A deep sense of fairness is at the core, but there is also a bit of a personal reason that I wrote about in my application to West Point a long time ago. I grew up on military bases, and when my dad retired we moved to a small town in northeastern California that was overwhelmingly white. In my college essay I talked about yearning for the community I loved on a base where the houses might all look the same, but the people came from so many different backgrounds. That diversity of experience added a richness to my own experience as a kid that made belonging somehow easier.
In my conversations over the last month with the park's new superintendent, Craig Kenkel, we've explored topics of social, racial, and environmental justice and I'm encouraged to know we are aligned in our commitment to making Point Reyes National Park a place where all can experience belonging. We both welcome and need voices of people from many backgrounds to help us reimagine our education, conservation, and community building work. Please know I would love to hear your thoughts on how to achieve this important goal.