Highlights of 2023

We took bold steps towards our vision of an equitable and joyful outdoors for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in 2023. Here are some highlights.

Justice Outside Board Member Tykee James standing infront of an large audience at our conference and speaking into a microphone. Tykee is wearing a white shirt and he's facing the crowd.

We held our first ever conference! On April 27 and 28, Justice Outside held our first conference titled “Cultivating Community Outdoors” with nearly 200 members of our community. The conference, held on Ohlone land at Oakland, California, focused on creating a space to discuss equity and justice in the outdoors and celebrate the joy that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color create in the outdoors. After our sold-out conference, we continued to bring our community together through a series of events including community hikes, volunteering, plant care and restoration activities, and more.

For the first time ever, we are in Seattle! This year, we expanded our Outdoor Educators Institute to Seattle, Washington, where we had an inaugural cohort of 12 participants. OEI is one of our flagship yearly programs through which we support young adults interested in pursuing a career in outdoor education, facilitation, and leadership through an immersive training program. In addition to our program in Seattle, we trained 25 participants in the Bay Area and Central Valley.  

A group of 10 Outdoor Educators Institute: Seattle participants stand outside. They are smiling and looking joyful. Many are wearing lifejackets and some are holding canoe paddles.
A group of people walk with backpacks among fields of green and grass.

We celebrated our biggest OEI: Pathfinders cohort yet. 11 environmental and outdoors leaders and alumnx of our programs graduated from OEI: Pathfinders this year. This program equips our alumnx with support, networks, and resources to create and sustainably implement culturally relevant initiatives, either within an existing organization or independently as a non-profit or personal business. In addition to training and networks, participants receive grants to jumpstart their work.

We supported community organizations in North and South Carolina. In another first, we expanded our Liberated Paths grantmaking program to the South. We awarded $220,000 to 12 new grantee partners working at the intersection of racial justice, the outdoors, and the environment. In addition, we granted $300,000 to new grantee partners in the San Francisco Bay Area through our Youth Access to Nature Fund. Because our grants are multi-year and we continued to support community organizations we granted to last year, in total, we granted $2,581,400 to our partners in 2023. 

A group of ten people, including a Justice Outside staff members, stand in front of an art piece. They are looking at the camera and smiling. Image is from an outreach trip our team did to North and South Carolina.
Members of Rising Leaders Fellowship in LA gather around in a circle and are engaged in conversations. Many folks are wearing masks and are people of color.

We supported 35 movers and shakers through our Rising Leaders Fellowship. This fellowship supports the professional development of individuals in entry- to mid-level positions within the environmental sector. We work with leaders who are enthusiastic about connecting communities to the outdoors in culturally relevant and inclusive ways by affecting culture change within their organization to build their professional capacity and create a supportive network for them. Meet our 2023 cohort who joined us in-person in Los Angeles or virtually here.

We created a network to support movement leaders. In collaboration with The Lawrence Hall of Science, Pisces Foundation, and Informing Change we created Network for Network Leaders: Justice, Community, & Outdoor Learning to advance a more equitable, just, and influential network model that centers the experiences and knowledge of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Our cohort was made of 19 leaders in the outdoors, environmental education, and environmental justice sector who came from 12 states. 

A large group of people stand outside. They are smiling at the camera.
The logo for Justice Outside's podcast, Joy Outside. The logo features the name of the podcast. The "O" in "Joy" is a white circle inside which three rocks are stacked on top of each other in a cairn.

We created a podcast. To share stories from our community, centering the experiences and wisdom of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in the outdoors and environmental movement, we launched Joy Outside! There are already four episodes out and dozens have subscribed to it. Click here to join them.

We take immense pride in all that we’ve achieved collectively this year! Our progress wouldn’t have been attainable without the support of our caring community—our supporters, alumnx, grantee partners, dedicated team members, and funding partners. Your invaluable contributions to Justice Outside and our shared commitment to racial justice and equity in the outdoor and environmental sphere are deeply appreciated. Thank you for your support.