The Adirondack Park spans 2,000,000 acres of the Adirondack Mountains, nestled in the northeastern reached of New York State, Haudenosaunee Territory. Comprising both private and state lands, the park was established in 1892 for “the free use of all the people for their health and pleasure." However, from the beginning, the Adirondack Park has been far from a welcoming community.
In the United States, the "Wild" has often been viewed as the playground for the ultra wealthy. It is imagined as the private realm of the settler middle class, a white Eden that actively excludes BIPOC communities. Enter the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, the organization that is striving to desegregate the wild.
The Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI) was founded in 2015 and stands at the intersection of environmental and transformational justice. Together with their partners and co-conspirators, with ADI is working to make the Adirondacks a more welcoming and inclusive place for everyone both residents and visitors.
Talking Wings collaborated with ADI to share their story and mission: ensure a vital and sustainable Adirondack Park for future generations. We created a series of videos, documenting ADI's life-changing programs in action.
In the first video, we meet Nicky Hylton-Patterson, the Executive Director of ADI, and learn how ADI is creating the next generation of BIPOC Adirondack Stewards.
The next video features Clifton Harcom, the Director for Diversity at SUNY Potsdam. Clifton shares what it is like being BIPOC person in the woods, and how he is working with ADI to desegregate the Adirondack Park.
Clifton's main take-away: Do what you want to do, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't!
The following video spotlights Jen Kretser, the Director of Climate Initiative at the Wild Center. Here Jen discusses how the Wild Center and the Adirondack Diversity Initiative are working together to make the Adirondacks a welcoming place for all.
All New Yorkers belong in the Adirondacks! In this video Lucienne Nicholson, from Inclusive Woods and Us, talks about her collaboration with the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, and how together they are nurturing a sense of belonging for all New Yorkers.
Ending an amazing adventure is always bittersweet. In this 360 degree video, folks from Inclusive Woods and Us take their final pictures after their excursion in the Adirondacks. Their visit was hosted by ADI and the backdrop is the North Country School in Lake Placid, NY (Haudenosaunee Territory). It is always hard to say goodbye to beautiful mountains and inspiring people!
Want to join the adventure? Follow this link to see more 360 degree behind the scenes videos of Talking Wings and ADI in action.
Unless otherwise noted, the content has been created by Blake Lavia and Tzintzun Aguilar-Izzo.