Tickets are now available for
the 5th Taking Nature Black Conference
Wednesday, March 8 – Saturday, March 11, 2023

Themed “Belonging: Engaged and Empowered,” this year’s event takes place during two virtual days, one in-person conference day, and one day of outdoor nature experiences. Nature Forward’s Taking Nature Black Conference will offer presentations and discussions focused on the needs and interests of Black nature professionals, environmental justice advocates, educators, and outdoor enthusiasts. Attendees will be inspired, energized, and connected to a growing community of people working to achieve real environmental change. The conference continues the celebration of Black American in nature, highlighted in 2022’s Belonging ebook available here.

Keynote speakers include:

Rue Mapp

Outdoor Afro

Rue Mapp founded Outdoor Afro as a social enterprise in 2009. Today, the not-for-profit celebrates and inspires Black leadership in nature by reconnecting Black people and communities to lands, water, and wildlife through outdoor education, recreation, and conservation. Nationwide, 60,000 people participate in Outdoor Afro events annually. Rue is also the author of Nature Swagger, a book of stories and photographs showcasing Black joy in the outdoors.

Alan Spears

National Parks Conservation Association

Alan Spears is the Senior Director of Cultural Resources for the National Parks Conservation Association. In a career spanning more than 23 years, Alan has helped win the designation of the Fort Monroe, Harriet Tubman, and Birmingham Civil Rights National Monuments and, in 2022, managed the campaign that helped pass the National Heritage Area Act. Alan is a DC native and a Nature Forward Board member and quite proud of both those things!

Dr. Mamie Parker

Trailblazing Conservationist

Dr. Mamie Parker spent a career as a fish and wildlife biologist and senior executive service member in the federal government and made history serving as the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s first African American FWS Head of Fisheries and Regional Director of the 13 Northeastern states. She is well-known for her public speaking throughout the environmental community across the country and around the world.

Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

National Climate Strategist

A problem-solver, bridge builder, and thought leader, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin is an environmentalist focused on equity, access, and community. She develops skill-building programs and multimedia campaigns designed to dismantle privilege and increase opportunities for vulnerable populations to access healthy air, clean energy, and a toxic-free economy at the local, regional, and national levels.

Caroline Brewer

Author and Literacy Activist

A celebrated communicator and author, Caroline Brewer is currently collaborating on national and international forums to address environmental crises and writing books about nature. She is the former Chairwoman of the Taking Nature Black Conference. Caroline’s new children’s book is Say Their Names, a picture book inspired by the George Floyd protests and her desire to elevate children’s voices in social justice movements.

Panelists include:

Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali
Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali

National Wildlife Federation

Beattra Wilson
Beattra Wilson

U.S. Forest Service

Dr. Sacoby Wilson
Dr. Sacoby Wilson

Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health (CEEJH)

Fred Tutman
Fred Tutman

Patuxent Waterkeeper

Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama'Echefu
Dr. Karen Wilson-Ama’Echefu

Storyteller and Teaching Artist

Tykee James
Tykee James

Amplify the Future/DC Audubon

Cheriss May
Cheriss May

Portrait and Editorial Photographer

Alex Smith

Division Street Landscaping

Ronnie Webb
Ronnie Webb

The Green Scheme

Melissa L. Jones
Melissa L. Jones

Edible Activist Podcast

Lydia Lawrence
Lydia Lawrence

Healthcare Professional and
Environmental Justice Advocate

Ashley Drakeford

Black Church Food Security Network
A.R.C. Program

2021 Taking Nature Black

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