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.
Wild Diversity builds that community through outdoor adventure, day and weekend trips, workshops, tours, and more. We also believe that seeking adventure can look like many things. It is not always ‘conquering’ a summit; it can be as simple as a wild flower walk. We want to support both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. We want to allow our community to access and get to know their love for different activities in the wild and at home. Our Gear Library will help aid us in that endeavor.
We want to support you in all the ways you like to get outdoors.
We have no limits when providing a variety of activities for our community. Wild Diversity is an organization that host outdoor adventures and provides outdoor education, in addition to our community workshops.
Our stewardship and conservation program focuses on decolonizing outdoor education by creating culturally relevant foundations for Communities of Color & LGBTQ folks to connect to nature and their communities.
Community is what makes an organization strong. We need you to keep paddling forward. Donate your time and your love of the outdoors.
We believe that it take community to make community. And we are eager to recruit BIPOC and LGBTQ folks to be able to come from a place of a shared experience.
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.
Community Leaders Council - Recruitment
She holds a Bachelors of Science in Ecology with over 9 years of professional riparian restoration experience within the Public Sector via City and State Agencies. Anna has a long history in conservation including being a cornerstone member of Columbia Land Trust's Emerging Leader Council and with Johnson Creek Watershed Council as a Salmon/Lamprey Spotter.
Anna continuously challenges her biased lens through participation in multiple Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training courses. Anna brings her passion of conservation making it very approachable for undeserved communities.
Trip & Workshop Leader
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.
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.
Community Leaders Council - Fundraising
James has been working with non-profit organizations since early childhood. He has worked in fields of racial equity, HIV/AIDS awareness and trans and gender non-conforming education.
James' current focus is on intersectionality within POC and LGBTQIA+ communities. As a card carrying Adult Girl Scout he’s proud to take his outdoor knowledge for the marshes of Florida to the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
He enjoys books, live theater, and tinkering with computers in his spare time.
Community Leaders Council - Fundraising
Liz Villarreal has spent over 17 years in the outdoor industry in various roles throughout the Pacific Northwest including: buyer for an outdoor shop, lead ski tech, kayak guide, coastal ecology educator, manager of a remote field station, public waters publicist, Operations Manager, & public lands field researcher.
She has been a longtime advocate and organizer working for causes she believes in such as Tribal Sovereignty, Alaska Native Subsistence & Water Rights, Women’s health, accessible sports, public access to resources & wilderness, and managing for our future generations sustenance from public lands and waters. After being on the team that passed the California Marine Management & Protection Acts, she spent 15 years in Alaska before moving to Portland in 2016.
You can find her on, in, and around water year round. She is most frequently identified by giggles & random dance moves be it in the trees on a powder line, hiking with her dog, or sharing the stoke of her love of outdoors.
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 adventure 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.