Park Bench Chat

Park Bench Chat: All in for Outdoors

Our most recent virtual Park Bench Chat, “All in for Outdoors,” was a celebration of the benefits and joys we can all gain from spending time in nature—and we mean all.   Thanks for joining us this Earth Day, Friday, April 22, at noon (PDT) / 3:00 p.m. (EDT) for what was a a lively and entertaining conversation about good times in nature and what inclusiveness in outdoor spaces really means.

Our impressive panelists discussed how they turn their love of the outdoors into passionate endeavors and—in doing so—are breaking down long-standing barriers and inspiring new audiences to embrace and connect with parks, trails, and green spaces close to home and beyond.


Nick Offerman is an actor, author, and woodworker, best known as the characters Ron Swanson on NBC’s Parks & Recreation; Forest in Devs, the FX limited series from writer-director Alex Garland; Karl Weathers in the FX series Fargo; and cohost and executive producer of NBC’s Making It. Offerman has written five New York Times best-selling books, including his latest, Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside (Penguin Random House, 2021), and publishes the Substack newsletter Donkey Thoughts. In his spare time, he can be found at his woodshop in Los Angeles building handcrafted items from wood, ranging from spoons and canoes to ukuleles.

Tykee James is a passionate birder who aims to make the outdoors more inclusive at every chance. A co-organizer of the first #BlackBirdersWeek, he is also cofounder of Amplify the Future and hosts the podcasts On Word for Wildlife and Brothers in Birding. His day job involves birding too (naturally!): he works to build and empower bird-friendly communities as president of the D.C. Audubon Society.

Danielle Williams, founder of Melanin Base Camp and Diversify Outdoors, is a skydiver, hiker, and disabled military veteran. Melanin Base Camp is a popular diversity blog that amplifies the presence of Black, Indigenous and people of color in outdoor spaces. Diversify Outdoors is a coalition dedicated to promoting diversity in outdoor spaces compromised of digital entrepreneurs, affinity groups and allies, and a vibrant online community that shares the goal of promoting diversity in outdoor spaces. The hashtag #DiversifyOutdoors has been used over 124,000 times across digital media.

More details about our conversation  

Check out the recording to learn about their journeys pursuing a mix of outdoor passions, from canoeing and birding to skydiving, biking, and just being in nature (forest bathing, anyone?). Hear lessons from the challenges they’ve faced along the way, and get motivated by tales of how their passions inspired them to start movements of their own.

This conversation was moderated by Trust for Public Land Equity Director Ronda Lee Chapman, who describes herself as a “radical love enthusiast, Mother Earth daughter, strategy integrationist, and former ski bum.” You can tell this one’s gonna be fun!