Virginia State Parksoffers the great outdoors for all
I enjoy sharing nature with people from all walks of life. Meeting people from different backgrounds is one of the perks of environmental education and interpretation. Unfortunately, African-Americans tend to be labeled with a stereotype for not participating in the outdoors. In fact, I have heard some blacks say "You know our people aren't into those kinds of things."
Outdoor Afro members and friends enjoying the Taskinas Creek Trail
Outdoor Afro was organized to help African-Americans overcome these and other phobias. The founder, Rue Mapp began encouraging blacks in the San Francisco Bay area to participate in backpacking and hiking programs. Today, the organization boast s13 chapters that have Meet-Up sites across the country. Activities range from leisurely walks through botanical gardens to extensive excursions to remote locations.
Enjoying a trip on the River
This past Saturday I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 members of the Richmond Chapter ofYork River State Park. I took them down to the canoe dock, Maritime Overlook, Taskinas Creek Overlook, and the first two overlooks on the Taskinas Creek Trail to observe the early fall colors. While wildlife was absent from view, I did get a chance to point out some special native plants and some fruits and nuts that were in season. We had a good time and enjoyed one another's company.
Outdoor adventures lead to unique discoveries
Stereotypes are toxic images that only limit our knowledge and keep us from contributing to ourselves and the larger community. I am glad to be a part of a group of African-Americans that understand this and are doing something constructive to overcome this artificial and needless barrier. No matter who you are or where you are from, get outside today and explore the natural world at a Virginia State Park.
And don't forget to take the kids
Directions to York River State Park: From I-64, take the Croaker Exit 231B. Go north on Route 607 (Croaker Rd.) for one mile, then right on Route 606 (Riverview Rd.) about one and a half miles to the park entrance. Take a left turn into the park.