Wild Diversity acknowledges all those who came before us, original stewards of this land, the Clackamas, Chinook, and Cowlitz people, both past and present. What we experience today is a product of ancestors ability to be in relationship with the natural world. We are so privileged to hold space in these areas that would not be here without your guardianship and connection to the earth, roots to buds.
We also acknowledge Black and African labor on which this country built its prosperity, we honor you. We know that we are sitting on the shoulders of giants and that we cannot do this work alone. We have always been successful through community centered mindset and united we will continue in our resilience and cultural strength.
We host outdoor adventures, provide outdoor education, and facilitate community workshops.
through outdoor adventures, day and weekend trips, and workshops for people of color and the LGBTQ+ communities.
through outdoor skills workshops, our gear library and community partnerships.
by creating equitable access to outdoor adventures and education for youth of color, and queer, trans, and low-income youth.
through diverse leadership development training and the Resilience Outdoor Conference.
We’re here to help you explore all the ways you can connect with nature and to find a sense of place in the outdoors.
We’re here to help you explore all the ways you can connect with nature
and to find a sense of place in the outdoors.
My favorite way to get outside is kayaking and /or hanging out by water. My dream adventure is learning to sea kayak in a beautiful tropical place with warm, easy waves alongside the love of my life surrounded by dolphin and sea turtles. I love to roller skate and bake desserts-- sometimes at the same time!
My favorite way to get outside is to be in, on, under, or near the water. My dream adventure is to do a kayak camping trip along a beautiful Alaskan river. I'm an entomologist, which means I get very excited about insects and will bombard you with interesting facts about them in hopes that you will love them as much as I do.
My favorite way to get outside is through walking which can happen anywhere-- in a park, in a natural area, or in my neighborhood. My dream adventure is to climb Mount Saint Helens. To me it sounds like the right mix of all day adventure and true physical challenge. I grew up in Northern New Mexico and I love and miss the high desert mountains!
My favorite way to get outside is one foot in front of the other... preferably with my dog Rodney on an early morning . I try to drop the pressure of “how” I should get outside and instead call on the gratitude I have when the opportunity presents itself-- whether it’s 10 minutes or a few days at a time. My dream adventure is an epic couple of days off grid connecting with new and old friends in the queer/trans community where we impress each other with outdoor cooking, tent building and nature knowledge. I'm a nerd about aviation and I’ve worked as a commercial aircraft mechanic for the past 13 years. I’m always game for a convo about your fear of flying! Also, I mostly hike in jeans.
Tracie grew up camping with her family in the Midwest and while that experience definitely instilled in her a love of the outdoors, it also raised her awareness of the challenges of being "other" in these spaces. She enjoys cycling, hiking and camping. She's also looking forward to enjoying new challenges and adventures with Wild Diversity including backpacking, climbing and kayaking in particular.
Tracie passionate about creating welcoming and accessible spaces for queer POC. Her favorite way to enjoy the wild is with friends and folks who are interested in exploring more off the beaten path places.
My favorite way to get outside is an overnight canoe trip down a lazy river. My dream adventure is to bike across the country! I've been making my own sourdough bread for 4 years.
My favorite way to get outside is to spend the day hiking in search of waterfalls. My dream adventure is to go backpacking in the Patagonia. A fun fact about me is that one of my goals is to swing on every swing in every neighborhood park in Portland.
I love getting outside in lots of different ways and am always so grateful when I have the fortune to be surrounded by the most magical sights and appreciate the wonder of it all in solitude. My dream adventure is to co-create an intentional and nourishing community that lives in reciprocity with the land. I love sharing and gifting foodstuffs. This year, I was so excited to share tomato plant babes I grew from saved seeds with 30+ people.
My favorite way to get outside is taking long meandering walks and splashing in any body of water. My dream adventure is spending an entire month doing all of the following, one week at a time: bike touring, then canoe camping on mountain lakes, then backpacking in a dense forest, then lazing around and swimming in a lake and napping all day in a hammock. The weather would vary back and forth from sunny and breezy to rainy and cloudy. I'd go alone with an adventuresome pup or with a small group for good company and laughs. There would be excellent snacks, fun plants to identify, and plenty of time to breathe and have a slow pace all along the way. I really don't like butterflies or moths. I just cannot with the fluttering.
My favorite way to get outside is by first sipping on morning tea, then stepping barefoot deep into the moss-covered dirt, tuning into the fresh breath of the forest, and soaking the golden kisses of sun rays. My dream adventure would be all the adventures wrapped into an epic, simply because I can’t choose just one! It would look something like part-motorcycle, part-mountain bike-packing around the world in search of climbing destinations, while also meeting with locals, learning from the diversity of food & cultures, discovering a coastal spot to snorkel and surf, kayaking into a hidden slot canyon that happens to have some deep water soloing... and stumbling upon a quiet gem to spend an evening processing, wild foraging, campfire cooking & painting away the sweet whisperings of the heart. I love exploring the world of food: growing, cooking, baking, sharing, and yes of course, eating! I’m really interested in how food can be simultaneously art, healing medicine, and connection to land, plant/animal/fungi life, people, and self.
Charelle is a member of Diné tribe and is also of Hopi and Zuni decent. She grew up on and off the Diné reservation before moving to Oregon five years ago. Her love for the outdoors stems mainly from her upbringing on the reservation, where she was free to roam and explore with her six siblings. Her passion for the outdoors has led her to love a myriad of adventure sports, including white water boating, mountain biking, backpacking, and rock climbing.
Charelle is dedicated to making adventure education and outdoor recreation accessible and inclusive for POC and Queer communities.
Valentina was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, and has been living in the Pacific Northwest since 2006. She began working in outdoor education as a camp counselor at 17. Since then she has worked as an outdoor science educator, backpacking and rock climbing instructor. As a young Latina immigrant in the PNW, she felt welcomed and most at peace when I saw people that looked like her in the outdoors, which made her want to represent and be visible as an outdoor educator and instructor. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, rock climbing during her spare time. She believes that diversity in the outdoors is of utmost importance and is thrilled to join the Wild Diversity team during her AmeriCorps VISTA year of service.
Kay manages Wild Diversity's social media, newsletter, and blog. They’re passionate about social justice and social advocacy and enjoy working behind the scenes to connect the Wild Diversity community through digital media while making sure our brand is a welcoming and inclusive space for folks. Kay’s favorite way to get outside is on roller skates, but they also love walking, biking, and learning how to snowboard.
Summer Youth Ecology Coordinator
Sofia grew up in the Willamette Valley, specifically Junction City, OR. A recent graduate of Oregon State University with B.S. in Business Administration and Sustainability, Sofia is serving as a Youth Ecology Coordinator for Wild Diversity for summer 2020. She is very passionate about creating opportunities that center equity, curiosity, authenticity, growth, and meaningful work through immersive programs, experiential learning, food security initiatives, social justice education, and civic engagement.
Summer Youth Ecology Coordinator
Viv grew up in a big metropolitan, so finding nature came later in life as they learned to enjoy themselves more and worked on finding peace of mind. Their favorite outdoor nature experiences has been hiking in the mountains of Ireland and kayaking in Hawaii. Local treasures-- they have also gone to 6 out of the 7 wonders of Oregon, and they are wonderful!
Mercy M'fon Shammah
Her drive to form Wild Diversity came from the desire to support a robust community of POC & Queer outdoorists and be an architect of much needed change for diversity in the outdoor industry. She wanted a welcoming as safe place for her underrepresented communities to thrive.
Mercy has over 15 years in community leadership as an educator and facilitator directly serving community. She has also traveled to over a dozen countries training and leading workshops as a roller derby coach to empowering women to realize their potential. She brings that passion to the Wild Diversity community and is proud to be a part of community growth.
Member at Large
Shoshanah grew up in a big city with great parks, but where the wild outdoors always seemed out of reach. When her girlfriend invited her to go backpacking, she fell in love with the challenge and adventure. Shoshanah wants to see and experience more from a trail, the seat of a bike, a paddle board or canoe. She is committed to removing barriers for LGBTQ and POC to experience the adventure of the outdoors and reconnect with the love of adventure.
Professionally, Shoshanah has lead strategic planning efforts of citywide and statewide significance. Notable projects include raising money for bike and pedestrian safety, Portland's Civil Rights Plan and developing Oregon's Statewide Housing Plan. She places equitable outcomes at the center of her work and works to improve the lives of her neighbors.
Shoshanah strives to live, learn and listen in ways that promote equity.
Member at Large
Alyssa Macy is a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon and was raised on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. She is of the Wasco, Navajo, and Hopi descent. Alyssa is the CEO of Washington Environmental Council. Her previous experiences includes serving her Nation as the Chief Operations Officer where she was responsible for $33 million in tribal programming and services; working transportation, campaign management, communications and international advocacy within United Nations bodies. She is a published writer and co-authored the first ever national report on Native American voting in 2005. Alyssa has been a foster parent to 6 children and her oldest daughter is in her second year of college. She enjoys spending her time outdoors skiing and glamping.
Francisca grew up in sunny Southern California before moving to Oregon for college and to get away from lizards. Due to growing up in a large city, she didn’t get to experience the outdoors until she backpacked on Mt.Adams at age 18. That backpacking trip changed her life and spurred an appreciation for the outdoors and a desire to encourage more young POC to access these spaces.
She currently works for the City of Portland after working in archiving at Reed College and being a community liaison for Causa Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys reading, biking through Portland, and planning trips to National Parks. She looks forward to keeping excellent notes (in a recycled notebook!) and learning as much as possible from the rest of the Wild Diversity team.
Lauren is an outdoor lover who grew up in the Pacific Northwest with a strong track record in financial planning and budget management, on-line (demand) planning and marketing. Consistently successful career with a world-class retail organizations known for excellence in quality, service, results, and professional development. Lauren is a Business Integration Planner for Nike.
Lauren loves spending time outdoors. Biking, hiking and camping are her favorite ways to relax in the wild.
Wild Diversity focuses on reinvesting in community knowledge expansion in stewardship, outdoor education programming and skillshare centering Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ communities through decolonized stewardship.
Since inception in 2017, Wild Diversity has invested effort in neighborhoods, community, outdoor experiences and adventure skills for BIPOC and LGBTQ communities. We limit economic barriers of entry for to outdoor adventures by providing sliding scale adventures and education; awarding scholarships; and gear lending through our Gear Library.
As we witness more and more organizations approaching diversity, equity, and inclusion there is a large missing undertone of restorative justice. That is why we center marginalized experiences and those with the most impacted identities to lead, create, and re-imagine.
Leadership among all partner organizations have BIPOC & LGBTQ guiding efforts of narrative change in conservation stewardship. By working to shift consciousness around what it means from a decolonized lens, we can create healing spaces and connect with our ancestors who have always cared for this land. The majority of our volunteer base and staff live, work and recreate in North or Northeast Portland. We have personal investment, increased sensitivity to connection and actively engaged in advancement and advocacy work in these neighborhoods. Every partner organization that caters specifically to Black, Indigenous & People of Color, this strengthens our long term foundation for community growth and long lasting stewardship.
Wild Diversity was born out of community and we believe that BIPOC & LGBTQ centering, community based approaches to empowering and equipping our communities to continue to be stewards of their lands is one of the most powerful things we can do to create/nourish connection to land.
We have learned that seeking time in the outdoors can look like many things and ultimately we hope that it fosters stewardship and love for the outdoors. We have first hand experience in delivering stewardship practices through fostering curiosity within our diverse projects and programs. Before every hike, backpack, walk or adventure that Wild Diversity leads, we state that, “You are only as fast as your slowest hiker”. We say this because it is not always about ‘conquering’ a summit’. As a community striving to decolonize outdoor spaces, we are stronger together. If we lead with intention and meaningful inclusion we are allowed our own time to create deeper connection to our lands.