Many in the Outdoor Afro community are elated by the announcement of the greatly anticipated America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative by the Obama Administration. Following in the tradition of Lincoln, FDR, and Teddy Roosevelt — Presidents who each made great strides toward conservation, President Obama left his own mark today by initiating an historic initiative that is likely to change the way Americans perceive and engage with the outdoors.

Read or Watch the President’s remarks:

From the America’s Great Outdoors website, “AGO recognizes that many of the best ideas come from outside of Washington. Instead of dictating policies, the initiative turned to communities for local, grassroots conservation initiatives.” So after ten months and fifty-one listening sessions from around the country to hear what Americans value about the outdoors, the result is a carefully developed report and plan to help re-engage all Americans with their natural spaces.

On the conference call following the President’s address, I was delighted to hear Lisa Jackson, Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, remark about the importance of inclusion that considers urban environments and the people who live in them.

When asked by Charles Thomas, “What elements are envisioned to serve underserved communities?” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar responded that there is a “deliberate focus on employing young people who are reflective of the diversity of the country — otherwise we’re selling America short…”

These are exciting times for Americans and the outdoors.Outdoor Afro will continue to promote, make visible, and encourage its growing community to foster stronger and more empowered connections to nature that benefit us all.


How do you think the AGO initiative will support your engagement with the Great Outdoors?

Rue Mapp is the founder of Outdoor Afro, a community that reconnects African-Americans with natural spaces and one another through recreational activities such as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, gardening, skiing — and more! Outdoor Afro uses social media to create interest communities, events, and to partner with regional and national organizations that support diverse participation in the Great Outdoors.

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