This story is part of Fix’s Outdoors Issue, which explores how we build connections to nature, why those connections matter, and how equitable access to outside spaces is a vital climate solution.
Makela Elvy considers herself a teacher, and her classroom is the great outdoors. Over the past decade, she’s worked as a park ranger, a summer camp director, and a composting project coordinator, among other things. Although the jobs have changed, her focus has remained the same: Introduce everyone, particularly those who historically have been excluded, to nature in an inclusive and welcoming way.
“My goal as an educator is usually to evoke a sense of confidence within my community members, folks that share my identity in wherever space that I am,” Elvy, who is Black, says.
Traditionally, people of color and members of other marginalized communities have been excluded from, or don’t feel safe in, parks and other outdoor spaces. Studies have shown they are much less likely to visit such places or participate in recreational programs — often because they lack access to them. Systemic racism, of course, plays a key role in th... Read more