This podcast is designed to be a rich forum for conversation on how we move forward—towards a more inclusive and representative outdoor community—together. How are we going to rethink conservation? How do we encourage investments and engagement in nature for our communities? My hope is that this podcast can also be a vehicle to raise community voices—to offer a platform to talk about the valuable work that these individuals and communities are doing. I want to talk about the triumphs. I want to talk about challenges and celebrations. And I want to talk about the ways that TPL shows up in communities, how we show up in solidarity, in support, and learn where and what we might do better.
– Ronda Lee Chapman
In this, our first episode, host Ronda Lee Chapman talks with Tykee James, government affairs coordinator at the National Audubon Society. The two discuss the joys of birding and how Tykee came to cofound Black Birders Week. They also explore the topics of activism and coalition-building in the “Freedom Birders” movement, the sticky roots of conservation, how many birds Ronda really knows (more than she thinks), and their experiences navigating the outdoors as people of color.
In this second installment of the new TPL podcast, host Ronda Lee Chapman talks with parks, recreation, and conservation professional Mickey Fearn about the interplay of nature and community, being the “weird” kids who sought the sanctuary of the woods and wetlands, the role of Black neighborhoods and their proximity to nature, and how racism and poverty require new approaches to build lasting and meaningful relationships with the outdoors.
More and more, people of color are being recognized for the variety of ways they step forward to engage with their communities. Whether it’s to help design and build community parks as we’ll discuss in this episode—or, as in our first episode with Tykee James, to apply outdoor activities such as birding as ways to build connections between civil rights history and the Black experience. There are all sorts of unique and exciting ways folks of color are bringing their unique perspectives and backgrounds to help inform the future of conservation.
To talk through these ideas, host Ronda Lee Chapman welcomes Jeresneyka Rose and Chris Urias, two CORE fellows at TPL (CORE stands for Community Outreach with Resident Experts). These two are talented. They’re activists and community leaders. They’re fresh. And they are people of color. Not to put too much pressure on these two individuals, but we think, in their hearts and spirits—and in their love for their communities—they reflect the direction that conservation is, and should be, going.