On Belonging in Outdoor Spaces: Doug Sutherland

On Belonging in Outdoor Spaces: Doug Sutherland


Wednesday, March 27, 2024    
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Event Type

The On Belonging Speaker Series continues. A free virtual series on access, inclusion, and connection in nature. Learn more and register here:  https://www.onbelongingoutdoors.org/

Doug Sutherland (he/him) is a Black grandson, son, brother, partner, and father. In addition, he works as a DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Summer Camp professional. Since his first camping trip in 1987, the outdoors has always been a passion. He has introduced the outdoors and environmental education to 3rd graders through high school and beyond. As an ECO-ACT Program Educator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis MO. (a program original funded by the Desegregation Program), he brought together city and county high school students to teach leadership and environmental science to elementary school in the area. Moving to New Hampshire in June of 1999, Doug continued to follow the path of working with children in the outdoors. Working at 6 different camps and outdoor education center, Doug learned, grew, and honed his skills in the outdoors. As a Black person in rural New Hampshire, “belonging” is an assumption for some and unattainable for others. An assumption of safety is not actually safe. Also, it is only unattainable if you choose to not attain it. Doug’s mission as a father and DEIB Consultant is “To Stand Up, To Speak Up, and Do Something” and  foster and nurture belonging in all spaces, especially the outdoors.

Belonging is one of those things that many seek to obtain, and others seek to provide. The problem with belonging is often there are caveats. “We want everyone to have a sense of belonging except for those who can’t make it here.” This is especially true in outdoor setting. A person in a wheelchair may not be able to go on a particular trail. A Black person may not feel safe crossing a field near a public trail. When creating a sense of belonging it has very little to do with how you feel about the space. You already feel comfortable there. However, your ability to welcome and provide a sense of safety allows you to help others belong.

Hosted by Farrington Nature Linc, Lincoln Land Conservation Trust, The Walden Woods Project, Mass Audubon, and Codman Community Farms. 

With generous sponsorship by The Ogden Codman Trust and Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area

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