Thursday, September 22, 2016

Why We Flash Nature and More to Help Share the Importance of the Outdoors

Why we flash nature, perspective on the cover of National Geographic magazine.

The love for the outdoors and exploration and adventure comes from a deep place my family. It’s sort of like part of our family’s DNA, our blood, our history, our family lore, and when we’re lucky now, it’s part of our everyday lives.

The more I slow down to take the time to ask my wise uncles and aunties about my family history, the more I hear about a dashing and daring Great Uncle who climbed this and pioneered that and then there's that Great Auntie who drove ambulances and saved lives during a world war when it just wasn’t acceptable for women to do so.

Have you taken a moment to poke around in your own family history?

I do wonder what legacy I’ll leave someday in the exploration, adventure, outdoor department. I’ve been enjoying, conquering, and galavanting about on mountains and lakes and summits and ski trails my whole life. However, the pull towards advocacy beyond sharing adventures and small moments of giving-back is getting even stronger. Especially after reading headlines from articles such as National Geographic’s latest magazine hitting stands October 2016 about “the selfie generation” getting back outside. 

Although social media is exposing the younger generation to the epic gorgeousness of remote and far-flung parks and wilderness, there’s a concern and statistics show that this younger, more diverse population is just not getting outside in the same numbers as previous generations.

So while we worry that apps such as Instagram are creating a crush of over-used trails and campsites in certain popular parks, the truth is that we need to continue to spread the word about the power of the outdoors and and share other more diverse, special, outdoor places with other more diverse communities. This while also continuing to work on implementing careful management of the “over-loved” places like the headline trails in Yosemite, Zion and Yellowstone.

I’m deeply connected to a family who cares about the outdoors and I now have a passionate group of friends, and I suppose I can happily call them “outdoor colleagues”, I myself have made over social media over the last few years. And it is exciting to see the power we all have to share that passion on grassroots level within our own groups of friends and communities, but also as an effective, larger tribe when we put our heads together with the massive reach that social media can give us. We can influence change.

And finally, what would my grandparents, who ran an overnight, all-boys, summer camp in New England based around nature and the outdoors have thought of the photo of five women standing shirtless on the edge of a gorgeous alpine lake in Glacier National Park donning the cover of the iconic National Geographic magazine? 

Well, I bet they’d understand that to capture the energy and power that this younger generation brings to the table these days and to grab that gen’s interest in helping foster a love and a desire to protect these places, we do what we need to do. Flashing approved.

Follow me on twitter for live conversation @OutdoorsyMama


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