TLC’s Wild Ideas series provides a unique venue for experts and the community to share innovative ideas and solutions to improve lives through conservation by safeguarding clean water, protecting wildlife habitat, supporting local farms and food, and connecting people to nature.
On February 15, over 375 people came to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh for Wild I.D.E.A.s for a More Vibrant Tomorrow to learn and discuss how we can make the outdoors more inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible for all.
A hallmark of Wild Ideas is its fast-paced and fun presentations with community experts. Limited to 7 minutes with 20 seconds per slide, speakers deliver engaging and concise content and ideas in a TED Talk-like format. This year we welcomed 4 speakers with expertise in a wide range of areas. Through it all, Wild I.D.E.A.s emcee, Dale Threatt-Taylor, expertly guided the audience between each speaker, weaving in her own personal stories of the outdoors and conservation.
Vickie Jeffries (Mihe Heyananhes Yattse), the Tribal Administrator for the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, kicked off the program in the WRAL theater with a virtual welcome and talk centering on Indigenous knowledge of and connections to the land. Next was Kierra Hyman, TLC’s Good Ground Associate, who shared how her work through the Good Ground Initiative is using conservation tools and community collaborations to address disparities in land stewardship and agriculture, while protecting critical farmlands. Matthew Brune, a Co-Founder of Operation Climate, led an exercise in finding balance in the pessimism and optimism of climate advocacy. Lastly, Founder and President of Black Folks Camp Too, Earl B. Hunter Jr. took the stage to deliver the keynote talk, breaking down the outdoor industry’s issues around diversity and offering a simple solution – find and invite a Black friend outside, keep inviting them, and build positive relationships in nature.
In addition to dynamic talks, Wild Ideas brings together community partners and organizations from across the Triangle to connect with participants during the Expo. Local recreational organizations were present, as were botanical gardens, farm associations and collectives, and government and educational outdoor, recreation, and farming programs. Attendees were able to freely roam the tables throughout the Museum’s first floor and engage and learn about existing work already working to move our community forward. The array of Expo presenters demonstrated the incredible number of opportunities available in the Triangle to connect with the natural world.
This event also marked TLC’s 40th anniversary, which included the unveiling of a refreshed logo for the year and the enjoyment of birthday cake by all. In 40 years, TLC has protected over 23,000 acres of critical watersheds, farmlands, and natural habitats, opened 8 public nature preserves, and inspired thousands of people in our region with our shared love of our local lands.
We hope that all who attended left feeling inspired and empowered to not only get outside but to be the ones who invite others into nature.
Check out more photos from the evening here.