“Sundaes Outside was just really created to celebrate Black folks and nature, and create an experience for folks that come out to the parks on Sundays,” Chevon Powell, organizer of the event, said in an interview with the South Seattle Emerald. “But also just to check out the different ways we can be outside — which means you can be outside in your backyard, in your neighborhood, you can be outside in a state park, you can do lunch or recreation, you can camp.”
Annette Diggs moved to the Pacific Northwest after growing up in a redlined community in Memphis, Tennessee. As she began to explore the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, a journey of self-discovery started that led to the creation of EDGE Outdoors, a nonprofit whose mission is to “address the invisibility of Black, Indigenous, Women of Color in snow sports.”
A friend from India took me to Snow Lake last year. At Snow Lake, there are certain birds so accustomed to humans they will land on your hand or arms for bird seed. Having that connection with the birds made me realize I should stop being anxious about a future I cannot control and start living in the present as wild animals do to enjoy such unprecedented moments. On our way back, my friend and I noticed there were not many People of Color on the trail and we discussed how lovely it would’ve been for our families to experience what we did.
Being surrounded by the Puget Sound, breathtaking landscapes, mountains, and of course, our iconic active volcano Mount Rainier have led Seattle to be named one of “The World’s Greatest Places of 2021” by TIME Magazine. The Washington Office of Financial Management reported that Washington State added 109,800 people throughout 2019 — a 1.5% increase. But many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) residents have not gotten the opportunity to see and enjoy the beautiful wilderness that Washington State offers.
For kids and their caregivers experiencing Zoom learning fatigue, a new Family Exploration Kit might be a welcome opportunity to get outside and explore the Washington Park Arboretum, Kubota Garden, or their own backyard. The self-guided exploration kits are designed for kids ages four to 12 and their caregivers, offered through a partnership between the University of Washington Botanic Gardens and Kubota Garden Foundation (KGF). With scavenger hunts, treasure maps, discovery games, hand lenses, and a comic, the kits provide hands-on science education activities, as well as sharing the story of Kubota Garden and pointing to the larger history of the Japanese-American community in South Seattle.
Kits can easily serve four kids at a time and cost $7 but are available to all regardless of ability to pay. To ensure COVID-19 safety, those who sign up for the kits can choose a time slot and location (Othello Commons, the Arboretum, or the Kubota Garden Foundation’s office) for pick up.
Chevon Powell’s love for the outdoors started at a young age. At three years old, she stepped onto the grounds at Camp Janus and knew she had discovered a place unlike any other in her life. Based in Houston, this camp is for burn survivors. And for Powell, it was a refuge. She was surrounded by people who looked like her and was free from the stares her scars regularly attracted.
On a sunny Saturday morning, a group of people who had never met formed a circle in a forest. One by one, they shared what they hoped to get from spending the day touring Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park. Some expressed a desire to learn more about history, others were there to meet new friends, still others just wanted to explore their surroundings.