Underrepresented Groups in Nature

Access to nature is something that should be readily and freely available to all individuals. However, BIPOC and low-income individuals and communities have historically been restricted from accessing these resources and spaces. This is the result of a long history of discrimination in outdoor spaces, from the racist beliefs and actions of those spearheading conservation movements to the unspoken (but enforced) expectations of who is not only allowed but encouraged to spend time in nature. This history, and its implications, cannot (and shouldn’t) be reduced to a few paragraphs or even a few resources, but here are a few places to start.

For the complete (and expanding) list of books, online resources and organizations, visit the Wisconsin Water Library blog: go.wisc.edu/7qj972.



The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors by James Edward Mills. Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2014.

Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage by Dianne D. Glave. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books, 2010.

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2014.


Online Resources

Underrepresented groups in nature, specifically their engagement with national parks.

Racial and economic disparities in access to nature.

Underrepresentation of ethnic groups in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology.



Access Ability Wisconsin provides mobility devices to help Wisconsinites access nature.

Pride Outside is dedicated to increasing the LGBTQ+ community’s access to nature and the outdoors.

Latino Outdoors works to increase the representation of Latino communities in environmental spaces and conservation efforts.

Outdoor Afro provides resources and opportunities to encourage and support Black people not only engaging in nature but also taking a leadership role.

The BIPOC Birding Club of Wisconsin provides a community for BIPOC Wisconsin birders.


Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow the above books and more. Just email askwater@aqua.wisc.edu.