Safe Spaces Initiative

a Black family in nature 

The COVID-19 pandemic underlined the benefit of nearby green spaces, where children and families can safely breathe fresh air and freely engage with nature and wildlife. But a lack of public parks and healthy tree canopy in low-wealth and communities of color prevent many families from enjoying time outside. And it's not just accessibility to local green space—or even the nation's majestic national parks—that serves as a barrier to getting outside.

For many Black, Indigenous, people of color and people with varying abilities, 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 has launched a multi-year Creating Safe Spaces initiative to hear from champions for greater and safer access to the outdoors.

In December 2020, the National Wildlife Federation partnered with Outdoor AfroThe Links, Inc., Patagonia, and Black AF in STEM to shed light on the challenges that Black people face in safely accessing outdoor green spaces. In addition to hearing about challenges and barriers, several recommendations surfaced to address the intersectional issues faced by Black communities.

Whether you strive to see more people from your communities recreating outside safely or care deeply about enhancing equitable access to the great outdoors, we're excited for you to view our past roundtables and National Town Hall on Creating Safe Spaces.

To learn about the issues and how you can increase access and safety, read our findings and policy recommendations.

Watch: The First 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)

Watch: The Second 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)

Watch: The Third 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’)

Watch: National Town Hall on Creating Safe Spaces

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.

Where We Work

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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