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The Joy Trip Project
42 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
An Interview with Perry Yung
During the global Covid-19 Pandemic one of my favorite programs to watch on television was the Cinemax miniseries called “Warrior”. Set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the late 1870s, this amazing show, inspired by the writings of Bruce Lee, is an action packed period drama that depicts the realities of anti-Asian racial oppression along with the furious fists of Kung Fu fight scenes. One of the main characters in this exciting series is Father Jun, the leader of the City's most powerful gang or tong, played by the New York-based actor Perry Yung. His portrayal of this hard-edged and often violent leader is so captivating I began an instant fan. By an odd coincidence Yung and I just happen to have a mutual friend on Facebook. After getting acquainted online I also discovered that he is a passionate advocate for the resistance to the rise of hostility toward Asian people and the climate of hatred being perpetuated by white supremacists nationwide. As a master of the performing arts Yung uses his talents to personify prototypical roles of Asian men to give them Both depth and texture far beyond the cliched stereotypes so often presented by Hollywood. In his latest film “Boogie”, Yung plays the father of the title character, a young man who struggles with his identity as an Chinese-American basketball player with NBA aspirations at the intersection of the Black and Asian communities of the modern era. Yung and I spoke over Zoom not long before the mass murder of 6 Asian women in Atlanta. In addition to the parallels between the current state of anti-Asian sentiment of today and the violence and oppression of the past, Yung and I discussed his long career as both an actor and the maker of the traditional Japanese flute called the Shakuhachi. You can learn more about Perry Yung on his website at PerryYung.wordpress.com. In light current climate of racism and bigotry across America, I want to encourage everyone to seek out and experience cultures of every variety. Buy their art, learn their language, eat their food watch their media and demand of all those around you to stop the hate. Music this week comes courtesy of Artlist featuring the work of Ian Post and the group Kodo. The opening was the theme music of the Cinemax series Warrior, by Reza Safinia and H. Scott Salinas. The Joy Trip Project is possible thanks to support of Patagonia, Yeti, Seirus Innovations, Outdoor Research and a grant from the National Geographic Society. Thanks for listening, but you know I want to hear from you. So please write a note in the comments or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed this conversation write a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. There you’ll find past episodes going back more than a decade. Let me know what you think. For now, go be joyful. And Until next time. Take care!
48 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Gloryland: An Interview with National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson
Even though we might be seeing the back end of the global Covid-19 Pandemic many of us are still stuck at home wading through endless meetings over Zoom and other teleconferencing platforms. With the hopes of creating a little community spirit and to encourage folks out there to step away from their screens and maybe crack open a book instead, I started a little group called the Joy Trip Reading Project. Each month we’re taking a deep dive into stories of primarily Black authors whose work centers around nature and the identity many of us share in common as people who love the great outdoors. In February, for Black History Month, the title we read was Gloryland, by National Park Ranger Shelton Johnson. This novel is the story of a Black American sergeant in the United States Army at the turn of the last century. As a member of the Buffalo Soldiers, the principle character, Elijah Yancy, reveals to us the life and times of the men who were among the world’s original protectors of public land at the National Parks of Yosemite and Sequoia. Not enough people know that in 1903 the first superintendent of Sequoia was a Black American U.S. Cavalry officer by the name of Captain Charles Young. Despite the national climate of Jim Crow segregation these men were among our first National Park Rangers During a time when race relation in this country were at their most abysmal, the Buffalo Soldiers fought to preserve the best idea America ever had. Unfortunately, because of some technical difficulties connecting with Ranger Johnson over Zoom I literally had to hold my cellphone up to my computer microphone to conduct this interview. Sorry in advance for the marginal sound quality, but under the circumstances, really can you do? I’m James Edward Mills and you're listening to the Joy Trip Project. [/vc_column_text] [/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner] Music courtesy of Artlist featuring the band Muted, Steve Poloni and Ty Simon. [/vc_column][/vc_row] The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to support of Seirus Innovation and Outdoor Research. This recording of the Joy Trip Reading Project was created in partnership with University of Wisconsin Madison Nelson Institute For Environmental Studies. Here we acknowledge the ancestral homeland of the Ho-Chunk People on the sacred land known for time and memorial as DeJope. Wherever you are in North American please recognize the native people of the place you now call home. Thanks for listening, but as always, I want to hear from you so please drop me in note in the comments with your questions, comments or criticisms or write to me via email at email@example.com. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If you liked this episode please write me a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you download your favorite podcasts. For now, go be joyful and until next time. Take care.
22 minutes | Jan 13, 2021
From The Barbershop To The Backcountry
The Black Men Northwoods Retreat Hey everybody. Happy New Year! I know things seem to be getting off to a rocky start. How’s that for an understatement. But I sincerely believe that by working together we can get past our differences and move forward toward a brighter future. We just need to come up with creative solutions to our many extremely complicated problems. For example, in the spring of 2020 I was asked by the National Forest Foundation to create a storytelling project. They asked me to create a series of photographs and interviews about the Black community and its relationship with the outdoors. Cause you know…that’s kind of my thing. But smack in the middle of the global Covid-19 Pandemic this already complicated project had the added challenges of travel restrictions, social distancing, and the potential of spreading the virus among a group of participants already at the highest risk of contracting this deadly disease. But rather than trying to come up with a solution all on my own, I reached out to a dude who knows more about these issues than anyone I know. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row] Aaron Perry: You know, probably the biggest challenge that I'm seeing is we're dealing with three epidemics, you got, you know, obviously covid-19, you have, you know, the health disparities and then you have racial tension. My friend Aaron Perry is the founder and executive director of the Rebalanced Life Wellness Center based right here in Madison Wisconsin. He works at helping to overcome the healthcare challenges that Black men face not only southern Wisconsin, but across the country. Aaron Perry: What I try to do is always be a part of the solution, period, point blank. I'm constantly looking at how can we be creative? How can we get our men to take part or participate in things that that's really kind of out of the box thinking. As it happens, the rise of the Coronavirus put into sharp relief many of the institutional disparities that place the Black community in jeopardy. High rates of unemployment, limited access to affordable healthcare, and the prospects of being subjected to racially motivated violence already make this population more susceptible to chronic illness, injury or even death. Black men and women are more likely as well to suffer from ailments such as obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, conditions that can be reversed or remedied with physical exercise and better access to more nutritious foods. At a time when all the people of the world are being asked to stay indoors and prohibit their contact with others outside of their immediate families, the Pandemic has taken an even higher toll on those most vulnerable to infection. Ironically, however, the best place for this community to find healing and solace from the trauma of this crisis is in the outdoors. For the last few years, I’ve watched and even participated in a few of the outdoor events that Aaron has organized for Black men. Every week, in a bit of out of the box thinking, he offers a group running, walking or bicycling opportunity in the Madison area. A lot of his work focuses on getting Black men to eat right, exercise and get regular checkups at the doctor. And Aaron believes that being healthy also means getting outside in public and unapologetically being part of the wider world. Aaron Perry: But I started looking at these other activities because I've always said to the guys, I said, please remember, this is our community. This is our country, too, and everything under the sun we're entitled to as well. So, with Aaron’s help we recruited a small group of Black men and their sons to experience the outdoors in a meaningful way. We wanted to take them hiking on public land in a natural setting. Everyone got a negative Covid-19 test and we created what I like call, an escape pod, a tight cohort of like-minded folks who can safely venture out together for a common experience.
38 minutes | Jan 13, 2020
Greening Youth ~ A Conversation With DEI Subject Matter Experts
Hey everybody it’s January 2020 Happy New Year! In fact happy new decade for the 21st century. It’s kind of cool to be living in the future, a time I tried to imagine as a kid growing up in the 80s. But here we are. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. And still what a long way yet to go. If you’ve been following my work on this podcast or in a few magazine articles I’ve written over last few years you know that I put a lot of effort into the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion or DEI in the world outdoor recreation and environmental conservation. Throughout the last decade I’ve reported a lot about the progress that the outdoor industry has made in creating positive cultural and professional environments for people of color, the differently abled, those who identify as LGBTQ and other socially marginalized communities. But there is still so much that outdoor retailers, manufactures and non profit organizations can do to create spaces where everyone can not only be made to feel welcome, but encouraged to thrive, succeed and excel. I spent a bit of time throughout 2019 exploring how various institutions in the outdoor industry are rethinking the various pathways they can take to get a wide variety of different people outside. So I made stop in Atlanta Georgia to speak to a team of subject matter experts who are leading the way toward making the outdoors more diverse, equitable and inclusive. Angelou Ezeilo is the founder and CEO of the Greening Youth Foundation. I think the challenge with a lot of these retailers are trying to figure out how to integrate, you know, the other right into what they're doing without it being so freakin awkward. So it shows that we have still a long way to go. For more than 10 years the Greening Youth Foundation has worked with Governmental Agencies like the National Park Service, U.S.D.A Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to place Black, Hispanic and Native American young people in paid professional internships. Working now with private companies like The North Face and Patagonia GYF is trying to expand the diversity of under represented segments of the population in the outdoor industry. In a very candid conversation with members of her staff at their offices in Atlanta, Ezeilo explains the many challenges we face in moving forward the work of DEI. As you can imagine it can be little awkward. It's important to understand that the work of DEI is not a philanthropic enterprise. Research shows that industries and workplaces that are racially and culturally diverse are much more innovative, socially relevant, creative and productive. Having a base of employees and managers that better reflect the emerging demographics of the communities they serve will assure an organizations long-term success and prosperity well into the future. The Greening Youth Foundation is based in Atlanta but they provide services and programs for clients nation wide. Angelou Ezeilo is the author of the new book Engage, Connect, Protect: Empowering Diverse Youth As Environmental Leaders, now available at Amazon. As we head into the new year and a new decade perhaps now we can all work to create diverse equity and inclusive environments where everyone is welcome. Music in this episode Ian Post, ATELLER and Mogli The Iceberg is provided by Artlist The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the support of our partners at American Rivers, the National Forest Foundation and Patagonia. In our best efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment we need fresh ideas to reimagine how we see ourselves as part of one big biological community. We believe that through creative storytelling we encourage everyone to #ReThinkOutside Find out how at ReThinkOutside.org. Thanks for listening, but of course I want to hear from you. Your thoughts help make it possible for other folks find us online. So please drop us a note better yet leave me a review on iTunes, Stitcher,
12 minutes | Nov 10, 2019
One Tough Mother ~ Remembering Columbia’s Gert Boyle
Early in November Columbia Sportswear matriarch and outdoor industry icon Gert Boyle passed away. She was 95. Having fled Nazi Germany with her family in advance of World War II Gert’s father started the Portland, Oregon-based company that today is worth billions. Throughout her long career Gert cultivated an image as a fierce business woman, but that tough persona was belied by a delightful personality and a generous spirit. Way back in 2006 I had the great pleasure chatting Gert at the Outdoor Retailer Show in an interview for the podcast SNEWS Live. In this flash back edition we remember "One Tough Mother". Gert Boyle was one of the truly great original leaders of the Outdoor Industry and her enduring legacy of tenacity and courage will inspire us all for decades yet to come. Our music in this episode comes courtesy of Artlist featuring original tracks by Polaris Rose and Ziv Moran. The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to our partners American Rivers, The National Forest Foundation and Patagonia. Thanks for listening, but you know I want to hear from you. So please drop me a note with your questions comments and criticisms to firstname.lastname@example.org. For now go be joyful and until next time, take care!
30 minutes | Oct 4, 2019
A Conversation with Author Eddy Harris
Very early in my career, way back in the 90’s I received the gift of a book, South of Haunted Dreams by Eddy Harris. As a young Black man venture out into a professional environment that was mostly white I took great comfort in this remarkable story of a person with a background similar to my own who was successfully leading a life of travel and adventure. In his book, Harris recounts his experiences of making his way through the Southern United States on motorcycle while enjoying occasional stops on trout streams to do a little fly-fishing. Though concerned that he might subjected to the mistreatment of racism Harris said his ability to navigate through places that are unfamiliar or even a bit frightening hinges upon his willingness to be vulnerable and receptive to the kindness of complete strangers. As writer myself I ask him, is that also a way to be an effective storyteller? "I never actually thought of it that way. But it’s something that I do as a literary device. I’m a traveler. I’ve been a traveler since I was 16 years old. The way I travel is not organized. I have no plan when I go someplace. Whatever happens happens," Harris told me in an interview. "When I meet people and they invite me in for coffee or drinks or dinner, I almost never say no. I’m receptive to generosity, and I just put myself out there. I’ve discovered that that if you want people’s stories, you make yourself available to them and they will in fact tell you’re their stories." I believe that in many ways Harris’s attitude toward travel and to how find one’s place in the world directly influenced my own. Over the years that followed after reading that first book I went on read his other titles that include Mississippi Solo about his adventures paddling a canoe down the Mississippi River and Native Stranger that details a trip he made through the continent of Africa. But it was in article that he wrote for Outside Magazine 1997 on the disparities among people color as active participants in outdoor recreation that really got my attention. It was through the work of Eddy Harris that I first began to explore the divisions of diversity, equity and inclusion that I call “The Adventure Gap”. Now more than 20 years later I have a wonderful opportunity to learn from one of my favorite literary heroes. In 2018 I had the great pleasure of hosting a visit with Eddy Harris at the University of Wisconsin Madison. As adjunct faculty at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies it was my honor to speak with him as a guest interviewer on the Edge Effects Podcast. After 30 years of reading the work of Eddy Harris as a fan I now count him among my friends. It’s that same spirit of humility and vulnerability that makes him such an endearing person and very compelling writer. You can find more of his work online at Eddyharris.com. Thanks again to my colleagues at the University of Wisconsin Department of History podcast Edge Effects. New music this week by Ilya Truhanov and Brick Fields courtesy of Artlist. The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the generous support of American Rivers, The National Forest Foundation and Patagonia.
24 minutes | Sep 27, 2019
Hike It Baby! ~ A Conversation With Founder Shanti Hodges
Wherever you are in the world I hope you had an amazing summer. I know I did. Over the last several months I’ve been on the road collecting stories for a broad new initiative to explore how people find their way into the outdoors. With grant funding from my partners at the nonprofits American Rivers and the National Forest Foundation along with Patagonia I made stops in the states of Georgia and Oregon to trace the routes of the great rivers that run through their biggest cities. From the Chattahoochee National Forest to Atlanta and the Willamette National Forest to Portland I went searching a direct connection between people in these urban centers and wilderness areas on Federally protected public land about 120 miles away. It didn’t take long for me to realize that for many folks live in cities nature is closer than they think and with just a little bit of help they can find their own pathway to the outdoors. Along this journey I connected with an amazing organization based in the city of Portland called Hike It Baby. Created by my friend and colleague Shanti Hodges Hike It Baby connects families with children to wonderful outdoor experiences on short walks along easily accessible trails in cities across America and more than a few foreign countries. Like any great invention Shanti says the mother of her idea was necessity. "I just wanted to figure out a way to find people to get outside with. So I initially just built a website a Facebook group and a newsletter," she said in an interview. "I went on looking for hiking groups in Portland with babies and I found nothing." Within a few weeks Shanti added about one hundred people to her newsletter list. She got texts every day wanting to know when she was hiking next. "I was leading four or five hikes a week and hundreds of people were texting me and calling me and Facebooking me. And then within a year we had a thousand and then people started writing me around the country," she said. "They started seeing pictures and asking how are you getting out with these groups of people to these amazing hikes? People started writing me and telling me they were lonely and they were looking for friends and could they start a group in their town. I'd pay to send them business cards. I'd have business cards made so they could hand them out so people could find the website, find the hikes and we built a little calendar and it just exploded!" Hike It Baby now has members numbering in the tens of thousands. And with hundreds of ambassadors around the world this remarkable organization brings families and children into the outdoors to become not only nature enthusiasts but also environmental stewards. There are Hike It Baby branches located in cities everywhere. If you can’t find one near you, maybe you can start one. If you want to learn more about how you can get involved just visit them online at hikeitbaby.org. New music this week by Michael Shynes and Paper Planes courtesy of Artlist. The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the generous support of American Rivers, The National Forest Foundation and Patagonia.
28 minutes | Feb 13, 2019
Pattie Gonia ~ Queen of the Great Outdoors
Just a few days before the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show in Denver I got my reporting assignments. Among the various topics I was tasked to report on was a human interest profile on a young man attending OR for the first time. Wyn Wiley is a professional photographer from Lincoln, Nebraska. He's also known as the drag queen Pattie Gonia. Photo courtesy Wyn Wiley I’ll be honest I’ve never interviewed a drag queen before and I have to say that I was a little nervous. I was more than a bit concerned about mixing up my male/female pronouns and appearing insensitive or even impolite. My goal in this interview was to create a safe space where Wiley could tell me all about his alter ego and share her story. Photo courtesy Wyn Wiley Coming on the scene only a few months ago Pattie Gonia is an Internet sensation, with more than 117,000 followers on Instagram. In an industry that has more than its fair share of toxic masculinity this leggy dame in platform heels and trekking poles may just be the joyful expression of wilderness the business of outdoor retail desperately needs. Photo courtesy Wyn Wiley In an interview last year Elyse Rylander, founder and executive director of Out There Adventures, an LGBTQ youth engagement organization, said something I will always remember. "There is nothing straight in nature." The outdoors is place where everyone is free to be themselves. Diversity is a sign of strength any natural environment. So get out there and find the best expression of who you really are. Look for Wiley’s photographs and videos at instagram.com/pattiegonia. Photo by Louisa Albanese This edition of the podcast features music by the fabulous Katrina Stone provided by Artlist. The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the partnership of Specialty News also known as SNEWS, the outdoor industry online trade magazine. You’ll find my text profile with pictures of Wyn Wiley as Pattie Gonia at SNEWSNET.com. Thanks for listening! But as always I want to hear from you so please drop me a note with your questions comments and criticisms to email@example.com. Or better yet subscribe to the feed on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever most fine podcast platforms can be found. There you can leave a message or a write review, but most of all don’t forget to tell your friends. Now go be joyful. And until next time. Take care!
7 minutes | Jan 28, 2019
The Pledge ~ A promise of DE&I in the Outdoor Industry
On Friday the Trump administration signed legislation to reopen the federal government. For many of us, an end to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history couldn’t have come soon enough. The announcement arrived just in time for the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Snow Show that’s starting this week in Denver Colorado. Tens of thousands of federal employees in service of environmental protection can now get back to doing their very important work. And those of us in the business of outdoor recreation can continue our efforts to make our public lands more accessible to a broader cross section of the American public. That kind of reminded me of a story I produced over the summer that explores an ongoing initiative to bring more people of color into the outdoor industry. So with OR coming up this week I thought we might take a look back at “the Pledge”. The Pledge creator Teresa Baker (right) with active lifestyle ambassador Mirna Velario For people in business of adventure sports the Outdoor Retailer Show is a really big deal. There you’ll find aisle after aisle of high-tech backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, hiking boots, GPS devices, tasty trail snacks and headlamps. To the outdoor professional it’s pretty much kids…meet candy store! But if you take a look around you’ll also see a lot rugged men with Nordic features, full beards and plaid shirts. These guys kind of embody what you imagine when you think “outdoorsman”.Through most of it existence, the outdoor industry has been…well…pretty white. Not many companies at OR that deal in outdoor gear have many employees who are Black, Latino, Asian or Native American. Only a few can claim a senior executive, owner or board member who is a person of color. But at the 2018 Summer Market Mario Stanley, a rock climbing instructor from Dallas, Texas said this year he noticed something different. Rock Climbing instructor Mario Stanley (left) Stanley>>Ah…the beautiful wave of brown walking around. I think that's probably the one thing I notice the most. And then I've also noticed that more people are engaging. JEM>>Not only were there more people of color at OR this year, Stanley, who’s Black, said there is more conversation around issues of race and what the industry can do to improve its diversity. Stanley>>The dialect has changed and they are allowing us to talk or asking us what are we doing for the greater POC community as a whole. And I think the biggest thing that I noticed this year was people are actually asking, “What are we doing?” JEM>>Research conducted by the Outdoor Industry Association, a trade group, indicates that people of color or POCs participate in outdoor recreation at rates lower than their white counterparts. In order to grow the market as well as the number of people overall who will help to protect the natural environment there is a concerted effort to bring more black and brown folks into the outdoor industry. Teresa Baker, an advocate for environmental justice, was at OR to promote an initiative she calls The Pledge Baker>>The pledge is a commitment that we are asking the owners of outdoor brands and retailers to commit to the work of diversity, racial diversity in the outdoors. JEM>>Through the Pledge, kind of a contract, Baker wants company executives to not only hire more people of color, but to create marketing and outreach strategies that appeal to a broader cross section of the American public. She’s not just interested in helping companies sell more products, but rather she hopes to encourage more people to care about the outdoors. Baker>>For me it really is about the environment and we need more people of color right now fighting for the environment. There are so many attacks on the land right now and the people that are missing from the conversation and the work are people of color. JEM>>As the current administration continues to roll back several of the environmental protections enacted over the last century,
29 minutes | Jan 25, 2019
The Shutdown Trickle Down ~ Impacts On Our National Park Gateway Communities
For 34 days The United States Federal Government has been in a partial shutdown. Pretty much since the beginning, the natural environment has been feeling the effects. Big Cities and small towns from coast to coast that serve as gateway communities near our national parks are on the frontlines of a political conflict that has put at risk the conscientious management of public land. About 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed from their jobs or are required to work without pay. Among them are more than 27,000 National Park Service professionals. Interpretive rangers, law enforcement officers and maintenance personnel have a long tradition of working in partnership with local environmental advocates in the communities they serve . Now with a dramatically reduced federal workforce, private businesses, nonprofit organizations and cambers of commerce across the country are struggling to protect the natural resources that are so vital to their economic stability and way of life. In the hopes of better understanding exactly how the shutdown has impacted these gateway communities I made a few phone calls. I wanted talk to people on the ground who can speak directly to their experience of managing our National Parks with little to no government assistance. John Lauretig is one of six board member of Friends of Joshua Tree, a nonprofit organization that serves the interests of Joshua Tree National Park. “And I'm kind of the Hands-On director of some of the programs we support here in Joshua Tree in the national park, climber coffee, climber stewards program, and the HARP program, which is the hardware anchor replacement program,” Lauretig said in our conversation. “And most importantly I am a member of the JOSAR volunteer search and rescue team that friends of Joshua Tree supports and we augment the Park Service search and rescue team. As someone with hands-on experience with day to day operations at Joshua Tree, Lauretig is the a good person to ask about how the Shutdown is affecting the Park. “Because of the shutdown we are no longer allowed to do any JOSAR training. So we haven't done any team training either with ourselves or with the park staff,” he said. “So all of that has stopped. Climber coffee has stopped because it was hosted by a park ranger and the climbers stewards when the campground was open were allowed to stay in the campground. But they weren't allowed to work they weren't allowed to do the volunteer jobs. And then when the shutdown happened one of the local climbing guides called and said. You know if the maintenance isn't done on this park we're going to need to clean bathrooms, take out trash like right away because you know this is during the holidays and this peak visitation. We have you know 200,000 visitors come to the park in the next 10 to 12 days. We knew right away that we had to get the power curve on this.” Unmanned visitor centers, garbage cans overflowing, filthy restrooms …and that was a month ago. Under the government shut local gateway communities are picking up the slack at our national parks. While the president and members of Congress argue over the cost of a wall on the U.S. Southern boarder ordinary citizens across America are paying a very high price. In this episode of the Joy Trip Project we take a look at the trickle down impact of the federal government shutdown on gateway communities near our national parks. When this story was recorded the Government shutdown had been going on for 34 days, the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. Today, on Friday January 25th federal employees will miss their second paycheck. In addition to the impact on hundreds of thousands of hardworking government professionals and their families this shutdown is being felt across every sector of our economy in the lives of millions of people. Even the landscape of the natural environment is being effected.
28 minutes | Jan 14, 2019
The Four Footed Shadow ~ An Interview with hunter Jessi Johnson
Being an environmentalist doesn’t necessarily limit your outdoor recreation pastimes to hiking, mountain biking, skiing or rock climbing. Those of us who indulge these so-called action sports should remember that we share the natural world with folks whose connection to the outdoors also includes activities like hunting and fishing. Personally I took up fly fishing a few years ago and pardon the pun I’m hooked. And on a trip to Wyoming in 2017 I met a young woman who has a passion for hunting. Jessi Johnson is an environmental activist who shared with me the story of a remarkable experience she had while hunting elk in the Wild. Along with one’s passion for the outdoors must also come an understanding of the balance between life and death. As a bow hunter Jessi Johnson knows firsthand the responsibilities and obligations that go along with being a full participant in the natural world. Though she hunts for sport, the elk she kills for food bring her closer to the wilderness she aims to protect. In the edition of the Joy Trip Project we explore the seeming contradictions of wildlife conservation through hunting. This story details a vivid description an actual elk hunt. Though not overly graphic sensitive listeners should be advised… “We are all filled with a longing for the wild. There are few culturally sanctioned antidotes for this yearning. We were taught to feel shame for such a desire. We grew our hair long and used it to hide our feelings. But the shadow of Wild Woman still lurks behind us during our days and in our nights. No matter where we are, the shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed.” ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype Jessi Johnson is the co-founder of Artemis Sportswomen and the Public Lands Coordinator at the Wyoming Wildlife Federation. You can learn about environmental conservation through hunting and other outdoor activities at wyomingwildlifefederation.org Our theme music is provided by Jake Shimabukuro. Additional melodies by Ben Winwood and Oren Tsor were provided by Artlist. The Joy Trip Project is made possible by the support of the Next 100 Coalition a diverse group of environmental activists working toward equity and inclusion in the management of public land through the next century and beyond. Learn about its members and current initiatives at Next100Coalition.org. Thanks for listening! But as always I want to hear from you so please drop me a note with your questions comments and criticisms to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or better yet subscribe to the feed on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever most fine podcast platforms can be found. There you can leave a message or a write review, but most of all don’t forget to tell your friends. Now go be joyful. And until next time. Take care!
15 minutes | Jan 7, 2019
Blood On The Crack ~ A Conversation with Adventure Film Maker Heather Mosher
From the opening frames, a recent movie by Canadian adventure film maker Heather Mosher lets viewers know exactly what they’re in for. World class rock climber Kevin Jorgeson mugs at the camera and chuckles while his partner Jacob Cook holds up a bloody finger. This particular pitch on the Tom Egan Memorial Route in the Bugaboos of British Columbia was first climbed by Will Stanhope and Matt Segal back in 2015. Blood On The Crack is a pencil-thin fissure on a sheer vertical slab of granite. It’s the perfect project for any aspiring rock climber or an adventure film maker. I first met Heather Mosher seven years ago when she was just a volunteer at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. A few weeks ago she sent me link to watch her latest film, a nine-minute short called Blood On The Crack. Let’s just say I loved it. So got her on the phone to ask her a few questions about her life and career in film making. Adventure Film Maker Heather Mosher “Going to the Banff Mountain Film Festival in 2012 kind of there's a bit of a spark even though I didn't know it at the time,” Mosher told me in our interview. “I already knew I wanted to be a photographer. I started working in the photography industry in Vancouver and then as I moved out of that full time job the thing that sparked the filmmaking direction was going to Banff and being like ‘I want to make an adventure documentary.” So I've met up with local filmmakers and went, ‘Teach me about sound!’ And they said, ‘Sure come on over to our studio and we’ll show you our microphones. And they taught me basically how to edit. And that’s what’s taken me to where I am now.” Blood on the Crack (trailer) from Heather Mosher on Vimeo. Heather Mosher is a rising young creative in a new generation of adventure film makers. Taking her passion for storytelling and life in the outdoors she’s producing compelling movies that are worth watching and definitely worth talking about. In this episode of the Joy Trip Project we discuss the process of making an adventure documentary and how this young producer got to work with one of the most sought after professional rock climbers in the world. Kevin Jorgeson and Jacob Cook photo by Kaare Iverson The film Blood On The Crack featuring Kevin Jorgeson and Jacob Cook is making its way around the world wide adventure film festival circuit so watch for it in programs and play lists in the coming months. You can learn more about Mosher on her web site at HeatherMosher.ca Our theme music is provided by Jake Shimabukuro. Additional sounds and melodies in this week’s episode were inspired by selections from the film Blood On The Crack. Each was provided by Artlist. The Joy Trip Project is possible thanks to a partnership with Film Festival Flix. Check out the selection of action movies on the Vertical Life or Mountain & Adventure Channels at FilmFestivalFlix.com Thanks for listening! But as always I want to hear from you so please drop me a note with your questions, comments and criticisms to email@example.com. Or better yet subscribe to the feed on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or wherever most fine podcast platforms can be found. There you can leave a message or write a review, but most of all don’t forget to tell your friends. Now go be joyful. And until next time, take care!
30 minutes | Jan 1, 2019
Jon Jarvis ~ an interview with the 18th Director of the National Park Service
Hey everybody! It’s January first, 2019. Happy New Year! If you’re anything like me you’re excited to make this year better than the last and if you’re listener to this podcast that means getting into the outdoors. But at the moment of this posting, the United States of America is in the second week of a partial government shutdown that’s expected to last for at least a few weeks longer. In addition to the federal employees who will go throughout this period without a paycheck every national park and all of our national monuments will be closed. The reality of a nation without parks got me thinking about an interview I conducted more than a year ago. Jon Jarvis is the former director of the National Park Service. Appointed by president Barack Obama back in 2008, Jarvis served in that position through 2016. And now as a private citizen I asked him to tell me a little bit about his career and how he got started. Jarvis began as most of us do with a profound love of the outdoors. He went to the College of William and Mary where he earned a degree in biology. After graduation he took a long cross-country road trip and wound up in Washington D.C. where his older brother worked for the National Parks Conservation Association. There Jarvis worked a bunch of manual labor jobs as a mechanic and welder for a local bus company, but he was still looking for a steady gig, maybe in the outdoors. "And my brother said, “Did you ever think about working for the Park Service?” And I said no," Jarvis said in our interview. "I was also thinking about going back to grad school at the time and was applying for grad school, but I needed a year off. So I applied for a seasonal job with the park service and got hired at the Bicentennial Information Center in 1976 the nation's bicentennial. And that was 40 years ago. I've worked for them ever since." Throughout his career of more than 40 years Jon Jarvis had worked both as a law enforcement officer and a natural resources biologist. He was the superintendents of Mount Rainier National Park in Ashford, Washington, Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve in Alaska. Jarvis finished his tour of duty as the 18th Director of the National Park Service during the Obama administration under Secretaries of the Interior Ken Salazar and Sally Jewell. Now as the executive director of the Institute for Parks, People, and Biodiversity at the University of California at Berkeley he has big plans to lead the conservation movement well into the future. Jon Jarvis is the author of the book The Future of Conservation in America: A Chart for Rough Water You can learn more about his work at the Institute For Parks, People and Biodiversity at parks.berkeley.edu Music in this episode is provided by Jake Shimabukuro and Artlist The Joy Trip Project has made possible thanks to the support of the Next 100 Coalition, a diverse group of environmental leaders dedicated to the preservation of public land and our natural resources through the next century and beyond. Learn more about its members and current projects at Next100Coalition.org Thanks for listening. But as always I want to hear from you so please send your questions, comments and criticisms to firstname.lastname@example.org
30 minutes | Apr 16, 2018
Girl Trek ~ Morgan Dixon Aspires to Get One Million Black Women Walking
Hey everybody! Yeah I know it’s been way too long since the last edition of the Joy Trip Project podcast. As it happens I’ve been crazy busy traveling, writing and yes conducting interviews. But most of the audio I’ve been recording over the last several months has been going toward a series of profiles for Outside Magazine. Check out the May 2018 cover story, which I wrote, called “The New Faces of Adventure”. This wonderful spread edited by Michael Roberts with photographs by Joao Canziani features 12 emerging athletes and activists who in their own words share the stories of their efforts to make outdoor adventure more diverse equitable and inclusive. The May issue of Outside Magazine is on newsstands now so go out and get a copy. Or hang tight watch for the online edition available on April 20, 2018 at outsideonline.com But getting back to the podcast, I was recently inspired by a remarkable post on Facebook from my friend Vanessa Garrison. She and another friend Morgan Dixon appeared at the 2018 TED Conference. As the creators of a women’s empowerment initiative called Girl Trek and they were introduced virtually to the TED stage my non other than Oprah Winfry Oprah: Hi all! I hope you're having a great TED Conference. I wanted to chime in virtually here to introduce you to two women that I think are doing some of the most transformational work on our planet. It's big. I mean it's really big. And it's wise because it's based on the wisdom of nature, that cataclysmic shifts start with just a tiny seed. These two women understand that the world is changed when nations are changed and nations are changed when cities are changed. Cities get changed when communities are changed. And communities are changed when individuals are changed. And when we look at history we know that some of the most potent change makers are, let's be real people, Black women. So let's start with them. Get these movers and shakers, get them talking. Get them dreaming and plotting and oh wow. Oh wow. Wow imagine what's going to come of that. I'd like to introduce you to the seed planners and the co-founders of Girl Trek Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison! So I’m watch this video and Vanessa and Morgan step out onto the stage. Morgan gives a nod to Oprah and then there’s Vanessa. Vanessa Garrison: Now many of you may know us. We Are the co-founders of Girl Trek the largest health organization for black women in America. Our mission is simple: ask black women, 80 percent of whom are over a healthy body weight, to walk outside of their front door every day to establish a life saving habit of walking. In doing so ignite a radical movement in which black women reverse the devastating impacts of chronic disease, reclaim the streets of their neighborhoods, create a new culture of help for their families and stand on the front lines for justice. Today all across America more than a hundred thousand black women are wearing this Girl Trek blue shirt as they move through their communities. A heroic force. JEM: Right out of the gate Venessa lays out the basic strategy that Girl Trek recommends to its leaders and follower how they can make positive changes their lives and the communities in which they live. VG: One: to have a bold idea, bigger than anyone is comfortable with. Two: Root d in the cultural traditions of your community and lean heavily on what has come before. Three: Name it. That one thing that everyone is willing to work hard for a ridiculously simple goal that doesn't just benefit the individual but the village around them. And lastly: never ask permission to save your own life. It is our fundamental right as human beings to solve our own problems. JEM: Let’s just say that this video got my creative juices following and I suddenly remembered one of the many interviews sitting on a shelf in my office waiting to be edited. In November 2017 I attended the SHIFT Conference in Jackson Wyoming.
14 minutes | Oct 20, 2017
It was the summer of 2017 and I was just coming off a major reporting project. I’d spent the better part of a year working on series of stories about the private land owners, farmers and ranchers and their relationship with the natural world. Modern agriculture is such a big deal, because things like soil health and water quality directly impact the nutrition, physical health and wellbeing of people all over the world. But farms no matter how big or small also have a profound effect on the overall safety and security of nearby rivers and lakes. Across North America watersheds that span hundred, even thousand of miles connect our forests upstream to densely populated cities where urban people depend upon the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables, sustainably raised meat and dairy products and of course safe drinking water. So agriculture was pretty heavy in my thoughts when I reached out to my friend Amy Kober. She’s the director of communications at the nonprofit American Rivers and I was really just checking in to see what kind of initiatives they might be working on in relation to watersheds and farming. “Well, it just so happens ,"she said “we’re about to release a new film we produced on the Milwaukee River.” Amy sent me a link to a film called Alice’s Garden. There I could stream it online in advance and I was pretty blown away in the first two minutes of watching it. Milwaukee is about an hour and half from my front door and I had never heard of Alice’s Garden. Located in the heart of downtown this green patch of land is surrounded the urban core. With systems in place to retain rainwater and restore the capacity of the soil to support growing things, Alice’s Garden helps people who live in the neighborhood to experience nature in meaningful ways through the cultivation of fresh vegetables. But what really struck me most was the environmental justice angle of this very cool short film. “If we’re going to be honest, the river of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan are places that have been refashioned more for white people with means than for the community I serve on a daily basis,” said Venice Williams, an African-American woman who is the executive director of Alice’s Garden. “I personally love going downtown and I love the riverwalk, but when I look up, there are very few people who look like me. So I think the rivers in this city, if we’re going to be honest, have been some of those places of segregation and divide.” It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wanted to learn more about this remarkable place in one of the most urbanized cities in North America. So I made the drive cross-state to have a conversation with Venice Williams at Fondy Farmers Market in heart of the African-American community in Downtown Milwaukee. There just a few blocks away where she and members of her community grow their own vegetables she told me all about Alice’s Garden. Alice's Garden from American Rivers on Vimeo. Music this week provided by Low Tree or Ziv Moran You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you do your downloads. Please write me a review. Good or bad I always appreciate your constructive criticism. And most of all don’t forget to tell your friends! Until next time, take care
22 minutes | Jul 12, 2017
The Upward Spiral of Chaos~ an interview with Ranger Betty Reid Soskin
At 95 years young National Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin is a national treasure. Stationed at the Rosie The Riveter/World War II Homefront National Historic Park in Richmond, California she interprets the cultural narrative of life in America during one of the most turbulent periods in time. Drawing on her personal experience through the 1940s she offers a compelling look into the past that helps us to understand who we are today and chart a course toward a brighter tomorrow. As an African-American woman who endured and survived the racially motivated oppression of previous generations, Ranger Soskin offers young people of color especially the hope and motivation to become leaders and role models themselves in the future. Ranger Soskin addressed a gathering of more than 200 young people of color at an event called the PGM ONE Summit in Berkeley, California. PGM stands for People of the Global Majority, an emerging new generation of black and brown people around the world who are mobilizing to achieve lasting social change. Much like those of her generation who rallied to confront the threat of foreign armies during World War II Soskin wants the young people of today to stand up against the rising challenges of the 21st century. "I've live now for almost 96 years. And what I have learn in those 96 years is the fact that ever since 1776 my nation has experienced an upward spiral, ciclical periods of chaos," Soskin said. "And it's in those periods of chaos that democracy is redefined. We're in another one of those now. Those periods provide opportunities to reset the buttons, allows us to redefine what demoncracy means. And to get on with the project of forming that more perfect union." After so many years of life experience in this country Ranger Soskin understands that the great experiment of democracy is an ongoing process. Like ascending a spiral staircase we wind our way round and round, getting higher and higher though we seem to find ourselves in the same place time and time again. And here we are back to once more test and redefine the integrity of American democracy. We’ve here before. Right after her talk in Berkeley Ranger Soskin shared with me her thoughts on our history and the roles each us may play to protect the legacy of our future. Music in this episode by Oren Tsor and Muted
29 minutes | Jun 22, 2017
The Delicious Wind – An Interview with Rahawa Haile
Outside Magazine recently featured a wonderful essay by the writer Rahawa Haile. This young woman from Miami, Florida had successfully through-hiked the Appalachian Trail. Walking solo, she made the journey of 2,179 miles from Georgia to Maine under the power of her own two feet over several months in 2016. In her fascinating story, one passage in particular stood out. "Throughout my youth, my grandmother and I took walks in Miami, where I’d hear her say the words tuum nifas," Haile wrote. "It meant a delicious wind, a nourishing wind. These experiences shaped how I viewed movement throughout the natural world. How I view it still. The elements, I thought, could end my hunger." Transformational experiences in nature are perhaps the single most compelling reason that anyone would devote months of their lives and thousands of miles walking the great National Scenic trails of North America. Every year trails like the Appalachian, the Continental Divide or the Pacific Crest draw hikers from across the country and around the world to sample the delicious, nourishing winds of the world outside. Many spend these long hikes in quiet reflection of their lives, while others use this time to heal the emotional wounds of their past. In that regard Rahawa Haile was no different. But during the intensely divisive and politically polarizing climate of the 2016 Presidential election she felt the added burdens of race and gender identity in a natural environment populated predominantly by white men. The disparities of participation among those who spend time in nature and those who don’t still fall dramatically along the same distinctions of race, gender and class that divide much of our country today. But on her long journey Haile was pleased to discover that she was welcomed and encouraged to become part of the Appalachian Trail community despite hiking while bisexual, female and black. This interview with writer and Appalachian Trail through-hiker Rahawa Haile was recorded in a coffee shop in Oakland, California. Sorry about all the ambient noise, but this conversation was definitely worth sharing. Look for a feature story on Haile and the delicious winds of the outdoors in the next issue of the journal Appalachia. Music this week by Jake Shimabukuro. Check out his latest album Travels now available on iTunes or at Jake Shimabukuro.com
14 minutes | Mar 17, 2017
To Be Brave ~ An interview with Royal Robbins – The Joy Trip Project
On Tuesday March 14, 2017 climbing pioneer Royal Robbins died of natural causes at his home in Modesto California. He was 82 years old. A leader in the world of mountaineering he completed the first class VI climb in America on the Northwest Face of Yosemite’s Half Dome and in 1961 he completed an ascent of the Salathé Wall on El Capitan. In a long career that included the founding of a global sports apparel brand that bears his name Royal Robbins was a leader in the outdoor industry and a philanthropic supporter of many organizations that encouraged environmental conservation and getting youth outside. In 2009 at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Alberta, Canada I had the pleasure of meeting Robbins for the first time. He very graciously agreed to an interview on his book To Be Brave, the first in a series of memoirs that recounted his remarkable life of adventure. In this flashback edition of the podcast I am proud to share for the first time this archived conversation with Royal Robbins. Music in this edition of the Joy Trip Project by the Ahn Trio
30 minutes | Jan 23, 2017
Campfire Stories ~ An interview with authors Dave & Ilyssa Kyu
In 2016 the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary. Throughout the year millions of people from around the world traveled across the United States to visit our historic parks and monuments. I know I personally made stops at Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. It was during this centennial summer that I had the chance to meet two truly amazing people. Dave and Ilyssa Kyu are graphic artists based in Philadelphia. Through the magic of social media I connected with them in a series of Facebook posts and a remarkable project they had funded through Kickstarter. As they were traveling home after a long journey they just happen to make a stop near my home in Madison, Wisconsin. There we met for breakfast at an outdoor café to hear about more about their recent travels. "We are just wrapping up a three and half-month trip across the U.S. travel to six national parks," Ilyssa said. " We went to Acadia, Smokey Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Zion, to Yosemite and to Yellowstone. We went to each of these national parks to interview all different types of people to help us with the research for our book Campfire Stories. Anytime you mix the national parks with storytelling you’re definitely going to pique my interest. Dave and Ilyssa’s project sparked a wonderful discussion on the importance identity and a sense of place in the continuing efforts to protect and preserve our public lands for future generations. "We only started going outdoors as adults," Dave said. "And we where always curious to learn more about these outdoor places where we were starting to spend so much of our vacation time in. We were looking around for a book of campfire stories from these national parks and didn't find it so we thought, why don't we make it!" Inspired by camping excursions near their home in Philadelphia these two artists ventured out to find others in their tribe of enthusiasts to share their tales of the wild. From the rocky beaches of Acadia National Park in Maine to the granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley in California they drove thousands of miles in search of stories that profoundly express our collective passion for the majestic beauty of the world outdoors. In the tradition of sharing tales of adventure around a roaring fire while camped out under the stars or huddled under blankets in a rustic lodge Dave and Ilyssa have gathered together a series of exciting narratives in a new book they call Campfire Stories. The new book Campfire Stories will be out soon. Dave and Ilyssa are taking a bit of break from writing as they embark on another great adventure. They recently welcomed the arrival of a baby daughter named Lula June. You can learn more about their project and even pre-order a copy online at http://campfirestoriesbook.com
25 minutes | Aug 8, 2016
This Moment ~ A conversation with Dr. Carolyn Finney
In March 2016 a group of environmental activists came together to share a vision. Gathered from across the country this eclectic mix of men and women came to Washington D.C. in order to collaborate on the creation of a plan to protect and preserve the natural spaces of the United States for future generations. As our National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary the group aims to make it possible for those in our society least likely to spend time in the outdoors to become passionate stewards of our public land well into the 21st century and beyond. Called the Next 100 Coalition this dynamic assembly of leaders is telling the stories of African-American, Latino, Asian and Native American people of color who have long enjoyed a history and legacy of conservation. As a member of the Next 100 Coalition, Dr. Carolyn Finney is helping to define a new vision of conservation that will carry us into the future. In the sincere belief that sustainable land management requires the cooperation and participation of all the American people Dr. Finney has crafted a compelling narrative that details the rich cultural heritage of our past while celebrating the great opportunities we enjoy today to build a brighter tomorrow. In this moment she wants us to realize that now is the time to set aside all that had divided us in the past in order to make a better world for the millions of children who will one day inherit the land we leave behind. I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Finney recently in Washington D.C. and she shared with me her wonderful vision of the future in an essay called This Moment. Addressing the potential lives of children born eight years ago at the begining of the administration of President Barack Obama, Finney details a series of challenges and opportunities to make proactive change in the decades which still lie before us. Dylan Rain Ash-Ostfeld is the son of Jackie Ostfeld, Co-founder/Steering Committee Chair at Outdoors Alliance for Kids and Director, Nearby Nature at Sierra Club "What we can do in this moment is work to change the nature of the next moment. What we can do in this moment is to remember, learn, fight, stand and expand who we are and who we might become," she said. "In 2008, 4,247,694 babies were born (in the U.S.). And no matter the color of their hands, they will be reaching for grass, dirt and dreams and we will need all their love and fight and possibility." Dr. Finney is the author of the book Black Faces White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. She is a professor geography at the University of Kentucky and you can follow her work online at CarloynFinney.com
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