Underrepresented Groups in Nature: Organizations

Wisconsin Water Library > Articles by: India Niehoff

Underrepresented Groups in Nature: Organizations

By India-Bleu Niehoff, Community Engaged Intern

In part two of our two-part series, we’ve created a list of organizations working to increase representation in the outdoors. The organizations range from groups with active programming working on the ground, to groups advocating for the creation of these programs, to groups raising awareness and providing community support. This is only a small fraction of the organizations out there. Hopefully, this will serve as a living document that will actively add and grow more organizations.  


Access Ability Wisconsin is a Wisconsin-based organization that provides mobility devices to help Wisconsinites of all mobility levels access nature. https://www.accessabilitywi.org/ 

Every Kid Outdoors is a program that provides every fourth-grader and their family in America free access to National Parks, Lands and Waters. https://everykidoutdoors.gov/index.htm 

Corazón Latino is a national nonprofit organization that runs and facilitates numerous programs for youth and adults that foster social, environmental and conservation initiatives across the United States. https://www.corazonlatino.us/ 

Disabled & Outdoors is an Instagram page dedicated to highlighting the experiences of those with disabilities in nature. *Note: Instagram page has not been updated since September 2021* Disabled & Outdoors Instagram

Pride Outside is an organization dedicated to providing resources and increasing the LGBTQ+ community’s access to nature and the outdoors. http://prideoutside.net/ 

The Student Conservation Association has numerous programs to increase diversity and environmental literacy and conservation efforts:  

Located in the DC area? Check out DC Urban Tree House, a program from the Student Conservation Association, which provides environmental education programs for DC Urban Youth, emphasizing meaningful connections and conservation projects. https://www.thesca.org/dc-urban-tree-house/ 

Community Crews offer a way for individuals to become involved in their local community’s conservation efforts. https://www.thesca.org/serve/our-programs/youth-programs/community/ 

The NPS Academy, is a 12-week summer internship that provides undergraduates and graduate students the ability to explore career opportunities within the National Park Service. https://www.thesca.org/program/young-adult/special-programs/npsa/ 


Latino Outdoors, is a community-first national organization working to increase the voices and representation of Latino communities in environmental spaces and conservation efforts. https://latinooutdoors.org/ 

Read a 2018 article detailing the efforts of Latino Outdoors in the Journal of Park and Recreation Administration. Latino Outdoors: Using Storytelling and Social Media to Increase Diversity on Public Lands  

 DEIB Outdoors is a resource that highlights the “people, places, products, and events that promote diversity and belonging in outdoor recreation.” https://www.deiboutdoors.com/ 

 New York City-based First Strokes: Students Teaching Students How to Swim focuses on creating free opportunities for young adults to swim, an important safety concern. https://firststrokes.org/ 

Read an National Public Radio article detailing their efforts. “Many teens don’t know how to swim. A grassroots organization is trying to change that.

 Outdoor Afro is a national nonprofit organization providing resources, opportunities and visibility to encourage and support Black people not only engaging in nature but also taking a leadership role. https://outdoorafro.org/ 

 In Solidarity is an organization focused on creating and supporting a more diverse outdoor industry, working with industry partners to facilitate and lead DEI-focused initiatives. https://www.insolidarityproject.com/ 

 The BIPOC Birding Club of Wisconsin, co-founded by Dexter Patterson, serves to provide a community for BIPOC Wisconsin Birders. https://www.bipocbirdingclub.org/ 

Read an article about Dexter Patterson and his work. UW Alumni Article

See his Instagram Wisco Birder.: Wisco Birder Instagram

Northwest Youth Corps is a conservation group that offers education and job training groups. (Sourced from AP News)

They offer programming for a variety of ages from 15-19, to 19+.  General Programs 

They also, specifically offer multiple affinity programs for youth, such as: ASL Inclusion Crews, Rainbow LGBTQ+ Crews, Tribal Stewards Crews, and All Women Crews. Affinity Group Programs 

Conservation Legacy is a conservation organization with a local aim that highlights the role everyone plays in conservation. They offer a variety of programs, including affinity crews. (Sourced from AP News)

Conservation Legacy.

The BrownGirl Green Podcast, run by Kristy Drutman explores the “intersections between media, diversity, and environmentalism,”. Drutman also is the co-founder of Green Jobs Board, which highlights environmental jobs with an emphasis on diversity and equity. (Sourced from AP News)

BrownGirl Green Podcast. 

Green Jobs Board.

Master Lists: 

Field Mag has an extensive list of 65 Black, Indigenous and POC outdoor organizations to support, ranging from general outdoor organizations, to activity-specific, to youth-focused to education. https://www.fieldmag.com/articles/black-indigenous-poc-outdoor-collectives-nonprofits-instagram 

Another list of organizations working to increase representation and diversity in the outdoors from the National Parks Conservation Association. https://www.npca.org/resources/3314-groups-working-to-diversify-the-outdoors-and-the-environmental-movement 

Updated: October 1, 2023

Underrepresented Groups In Nature: History

By India-Bleu Niehoff, Community Engaged Intern

In this two-part blog series, we will be exploring the history of underrepresented groups in nature, and groups and organizations that are collectively organizing to increase the recognition, voices and participation of those groups in nature.   

Part 1: History  

Access to nature is something that should be readily and freely available to all individuals. However, BIPOC and low-income individuals and communities have historically been restricted from accessing these resources and spaces. This is the result of a long history of discrimination and segregation in outdoor spaces, from the racist beliefs and actions of those spearheading conservation movements (read more about John Muir here), to the unspoken (but enforced) expectations of who is not only allowed but encouraged to spend time in nature. This history, and its implications, cannot (and shouldn’t) be reduced to a few paragraphs or even a few resources, but here are a few places to start. 


The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors by James Edward Mills. Seattle: Mountaineers Books, 2014. 

Rooted in the Earth: Reclaiming the African American Environmental Heritage by Dianne D. Glave. Chicago, Illinois: Lawrence Hill Books, 2010. 

Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2014. 

Online Resources: 

Short introductory resource to learn about underrepresented groups in nature, specifically their engagement with national parks: JSTOR Daily

Another great resource detailing history and current groups organizing: NC State University College of Natural Resources News

Incredibly in-depth article detailing the racial and economic disparities in access to nature, supplemented by extensive research: Center for American Progress

A look into the underrepresentation of ethnic groups specifically in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology: Springer Link

Short exploration of the underrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples on environmental community councils and their struggles in accessing funding: International Institute for Environment and Development

A 2019 research article that disrupts the mainstream narrative of Black people in nature, adding depth and nuance to a complex topic: Sage Publishing  

This recent Associated Press article that explores how underrepresented groups are starting to be recruited into conservation careers, with an emphasis on Wisconsin: Associated Press

Want to learn more about environmental justice in all its iterations? Check out the Water Library’s introduction to environmental justice with accumulated resources: https://waterlibrary.aqua.wisc.edu/ejlist/ 

Updated: September 28, 2023

Reel in the Summer: Fishing and Conservation Book Display

Photo of the Wisconsin Water Library Summer Fishing Display

By India-Bleu Niehoff, Community Engaged Intern

To reel in the summer, the Wisconsin Water Library has a new book display!  We’re highlighting fish and more broadly fishing, a very traditional summer (and winter) activity. 

In this display, we explore the different types of fish, the history of fishing and controversies surrounding fishing, such as the fight to respect the treaty rights of Ojibwe spearfishing or the importance and practice of sustainable fishing to preserve our oceans.  

Visit the library to check out our selection or explore one of our accumulated online resources! 

Books on Display!


America’s Bountiful Waters: 150 Years of Fisheries Conservation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service edited by Craig Springer. Guilford, Connecticut: Stackpole Books, 2021.

Blue Men & River Monsters: Folklore of the North edited by John Zimm. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2014.

Bottomfeeder: A Seafood Lover’s Journey to the End of the Food Chain by Taras Grescoe.New York: Bloomsbury USA: Distributed to the trade by Macmillan, 2008. 

Eye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher’s Guide to Life, the Oceans, and Everything by Helen Scales. London; New York: Bloomsbury Sigma, 2018.

Fishing: How the Sea Fed Civilization by Brian M. Fagan. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017.

Fishing Lessons: Artisanal Fisheries and the Future of our Oceans by Kevin McLean Bailey. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018.

Ichthyo: the Architecture of Fish: X-Rays from the Smithsonian Institution by Daniel Pauly. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2008.

The Walleye War: the Struggle for Ojibwe Spearfishing and Treaty Rights by Larry Nesper. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002.



All the Fish in the World by David Opie. White Plains, New York: Peter Pauper Press, Inc., 2021

Fish by Steve Parker. New York: Knopf, 1990.

We Love Fishing by Ariel Bernstein. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021.


Want to learn even more? Check out our accumulated online resources!

Learn more about spearfishing and tribal rights:






Learn more about sustainable fishing and seafood:




Learn more about how to identify fish and the words you use: