On Saturday, October 21, TLC welcomed over 100 community members and 15 local outdoor organizations to Brumley Nature Preserve in Chapel Hill for a day of outdoor exploration and activities. Part of TLC’s popular Wild Ideas series, Wild I.D.E.A.s Gets Outside was the first iteration to be held at a nature preserve, with guided hikes and interactive demonstrations replacing the typical TED-Talk speaker format. Throughout the day, attendees were able to join in on plant identification walks, birdwatching, and even axe-throwing, in addition to learning about opportunities to get outside around the Triangle.
Connecting people to nature is one of the four public benefits at the heart of TLC’s core mission. Through the opening and maintaining of eight public nature preserves to providing free hikes and events like Wild Ideas, our team works hard to create as many opportunities as possible for the Triangle community to connect with local lands.
The outdoors has not historically been a place for all, with decades of discrimination and public access disparities contributing to people of color being far less likely to engage in nature-based activities. Closing this gap inspired the theme of this year’s two Wild Ideas events, which aimed to bring inclusion, diversity, equity, and access to the outdoors to the forefront. “We wanted to create a safe environment to bring out a wide range of community members to try outdoor activities amongst friends,” said Diquan Edmonds, TLC’s Senior Education and Outreach Manager. “Attendees were introduced to our wonderful partners, who are all working to make the outdoors more welcoming and inclusive places.”
Keynote speaker, Earl B. Hunter, Jr., founder of Black Folks Camp Too, challenged attendees at the February Wild I.D.E.A.s event to introduce and invite more diverse people into nature and the outdoor community. TLC’s entire team heard that challenge, and our Education and Outreach team took steps to bring life to a Wild Ideas specifically focused on experiencing the outdoors together. A major part of making this happen was reaching out to groups in the Triangle such as BLK Hiking Club RDU, Feminist Bird Club, and NC Adapted Sports who are already working to create community, safe spaces, and opportunities for people of all backgrounds and abilities to enjoy outdoor spaces. In addition to the diversity of partner groups invited, our team also focused on ensuring a diversity of activities and experiences featured throughout the day, which included a Spanish-language hike, test riding adaptive handcycles, and fishing at Brumley’s large pond. For several attendees, this was the first time they had ever fished, birdwatched, or even visited Brumley!
We hope that all who attended felt welcomed, found joy in nature, discovered a new favorite hobby, and were inspired to keep exploring outside. Beyond this year’s Wild I.D.E.A.s, our team will continue to work together with the community to keep making nature feel like a safe, fun, and welcoming place for all.
Special thanks to all of our partners who attended, led programs, and tabled at Wild I.D.E.A.s! For more information on each, check out their websites below:
You can view more photos from the event on our Facebook page here.