Nature Needs Greater Diversity—In Its Human Visitors

Drawing More Non-Whites Into Parks and Natural Areas Requires Changes in Access, Staffing, Recruitment—and Narratives

“Is nature only for white people?” was the deliberately provocative query that framed a Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County panel discussion. It was quickly dispensed with by the evening’s moderator, Rahawa Haile, a hiker and writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and other venues.

“I’m going to start out by saying a resounding ‘no,’” Haile said, opening the discussion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, in Exposition Park. “We are all on occupied indigenous lands.”

And yet ethnicity and economics, power and privilege, do …

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Why Americans Invented the RV

In 1915, New Creature Comforts Created by Technology Merged with the Back to Nature Movement

On August 21, 1915, the Conklin family departed Huntington, New York on a cross-country camping trip in a vehicle called the “Gypsy Van.” Visually arresting and cleverly designed, the …

How Hawai‘i Forces Us to Redefine the Meaning of ‘Native’

An Environmental Historian Argues That Being Indigenous Is More Alchemy Than Fact

I was born in the Territory of Hawai‘i, three weeks before statehood. As a kid I played in its dirt, ran around in the rain (my hometown of Hilo is …

The Photographer in the Garden

How the Camera Conveys the Ways We Cultivate Nature

Gardens are the birthplace of some of our most enduring myths and creation stories. Many religions posit the idea of a lush, sacred place where humans once dwelt in harmony …

America’s National Parks Were Never Wild and Untouched

Montana's Emblematic Glacier National Park Reveals the Impact of Human History and Culture

In 1872, Congress created the first national park, Yellowstone, so that its scenic features would be “dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and …

What America’s National Parklands Taught My Three Boys About Their Country

A Michigan Teacher Wanted His Sons to Roam the Nation's Expanses, Grasp Its Opportunities, and Understand Its Injustices

Last August, my sons and I paddled canoes through the Missouri River Breaks National Monument in eastern Montana. The Breaks is remote country, a prairie river cutting through coulees and …