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Friday, November 11, 2011

Outdoor Afro

Outdoor Afro is 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.

Founder Rue Mapp split her childhood time between urban Oakland, California and her families’ working ranch in the Northern woodlands, where she cultivated a passion for natural spaces, farming, and learned how to hunt and fish. As a youth, her participation in the Girl Scouts and Outward Bound broadened her outdoor experiences, such as camping, mountaineering, rock climbing, and road bicycling. But Rue was troubled by the consistently low numbers of African Americans participating in these activities. So for two decades, Rue has used digital media as an important and practical tool to connect with people of color who share her outdoor interests. Outdoor Afro emerged naturally from these experiences.

Rue Mapp
Rue Mapp has a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was inspired by her study of the artistic representation of the American forests. She is also a successful entrepreneur whose game and hobby store start-up (It’s Your Move) remains an important part of the Oakland community. Rue was honored to be invited to the White House to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference where President Obama signed an historic memorandum to help reconnect all Americans to the Great Outdoors. She is now serving as program officer at the Stewardship Council to oversee its youth investment program that connects programs with the resources they need to get underrepresented youth to engage meaningfully with the outdoors. Rue is a proud mother of three school-aged children – Seth, Arwen, and Billy, and lives in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.

Photo by Donna Petagrew, Outdoor Afro Photo Contest Winner

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