Adventures of Black Women, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming People in Nature
by Shaz Zamore, Amber Wendler.
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Pub Date 01 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 15 Dec 2023
Encompassing four major themes--identity, inspiration, ancestry, and stewardship--Been Outside traces common experiences across these writers’ paths through nature and into science. This collection explores what sparked their interests in the natural world, how fieldwork and adventure have shaped them as individuals, what it means to be a Black woman or nonbinary scientist studying the natural world, and what the future may look like for our shared outdoor community.
Essays and poems range across activities from rock climbing, surfing, and snowboarding to fieldwork with birds and marine animals. Camille Mosely contemplates the rich fishing history of Black Americans and how that relates to their career in freshwater ecology. Sharon Dorsey reflects on finally meeting a wildlife professional who looks like her. And Tanisha Williams shares the emotional journey of returning to South Africa to study plants. Edited by Amber Wendler and Shaz Zamore, these stories from 22 writers highlight the challenges and joys of carving out your own path—and will inspire any reader looking to craft their own outdoor life. Been Outside promotes collective action toward making the outdoor community more inclusive and welcoming to all.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 23 members
This was a stunning compilation of stories and experiences that really opened my eyes on many different levels! Hearing from so many different voices and perspectives, all of which centered on the topic of nature and people's existence in it, really made for a beautifully narrated collection. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain more knowledge of the earth and our fellow humans who live on it!
To start off... I just want to self-disclose that I am a white, queer, generally femme-presenting person (she/they) with a background in STEM academia reviewing this.
This collection of essays/poems was a very insightful look into the lives of Black, queer people with a love of the outdoors. I came into it already familiar with some of the concepts around the "Nature Gap" and have my own experiences navigating the world of academia as a femme queer; but the additional intersectionality of race, specifically being Black, reminded me just how critical this issue is. So many people view nature as an "amenity," when in reality it is a necessity.
The stories of the Black community coming together into activism groups such as Minorities in Shark Science (MISS) and the Black Arts Retreat, or just general interest groups for Black, queer snowboarders or the Twirling Tech Goddess Youtube series are incredible to read about.
As a white person, I also very much appreciated the chapter on how to be a good ally, especially as it was put in the context of the specific microaggressions Black people face in academia.
Overall a really enlightening read.
I loved hearing first-hand accounts of so many incredibly varied experiences in the outdoors! It was very eye-opening to hear these stories from perspectives other than my own cultural identity.