New Speakers Bureau Features Minority "Rock Stars" of the environment

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DEL, a new speakers bureau of renowned minority outdoorsmen and women, aims to build a bridge for urbanites to national parks, outdoor adventure travel, recreation and public lands.

Members of the Diverse Environmental Leaders National Speakers Bureau visit Grand Canyon National Park

What's been missing... is a convenient way to find and book minority speakers who are leaders in outdoor recreation and public lands...

Coinciding with President Barack Obama's recently announced goal of "protecting our nation's unique outdoor spaces and ensuring that every American has the opportunity to enjoy them,” Diverse Environmental Leaders (DEL), a new national speakers bureau comprised of renowned minority outdoorsmen and women, aims to “help build a bridge for people of color to the national parks and public lands,” says its founders, Audrey and Frank Peterman.

In his 2016 budget, President Obama proposes that $45 million be spent on youth programs managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, with $20 million dedicated to youth activities. Mrs. Peterman says, “His aim is to bring one million fourth-grade children and their families from low-income areas to national parks. And, considering the President’s proposal, it feels like our dreams of engaging minorities in outdoor adventure travel through this new speakers bureau are coming together at the same time.”

She continues, “When Frank and I first visited Acadia National Park 20 years ago, we saw less than a handful of Black and Brown Americans among thousands of visitors and employees in the park. We then dreamed of the day when all Americans, particularly those living in cities with limited exposure to visiting wild places, would someday share the overwhelming feeling of belonging that we experienced when first visited national parks. Now, with announcement of the President's new initiative and our new speakers bureau, it seems that could actually happen.”

The Petermans say DEL was created as a “one-stop shop” where conference planners, destination marketers, public lands managers and environmental group leaders can secure minority speakers who can present authoritative and entertaining talks on how to engage people of color in outdoor recreation and visiting public lands.

“Our speakers bureau includes the ‘rock stars’ of the environment,” Mr. Peterman says, “and include such accomplished outdoorsmen and women as Captain Bill Pinkney who sailed solo around the globe and mountaineer Stephen Shobe who summited four of the seven highest peaks on earth. Former national park leaders include communications expert Celinda Pena and Superintendent James JT Reynolds; wildlife conservation biologist turned cultural change strategist Marcelo Bonta, singer-songwriter 2013 Navajo Teen Queen Krishel Augustine, and distinguished authors, academics, scientists and artists.

“Sometimes overcoming a barrier for someone who hasn’t traveled to national parks is as easy as dismissing the thought that they’ll have to rough it.” Mrs. Peterman explains, “When we describe the range of lodging options available – from tents to hotel rooms where presidents and royalty have stayed – it really piques their curiosity.”

She continues, “DEL also helps destinations, public lands agencies and environmental organizations better understand how to attract a more diverse workforce. Nearly half the U.S. population now comes from minority groups, yet the Green 2.0 report on ‘The State of Diversity in Environmental Organizations’ revealed that people of color still represent only 12 to 15.5% of the staff in environmental organizations, similarly disproportionate numbers exist among the visitors to our national parks, forests and wildlife refuges and within public lands employment.”

Recently, DEL National Speakers Bureau presenters have appeared at the conference of the Northeast Park and Recreation Society, on Atlanta television and before assemblies at the University of Arizona and Colorado State University.

More about DEL and how to connect with its speakers can be found at http://www.delnsb.com.

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Audrey Peterman
@DELNSB
since: 09/2014
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Diverse Environmental Leaders National Speakers Bureau
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