Darlene’s story inspires engagement of minorities in environmental and conservation careers Being raised by a loving family with a dedicated mother and an auntie in a professional career as a role model made a big difference for Darlene. She realized that if she hadn’t been able to volunteer at the Bronx Zoo she wouldn’t have the opportunity of working there. Not every kid in the Bronx gets to visit the zoo. Since Darlene was in kindergarten, she has studied in her neighborhood, without the opportunity of being in touch with nature during school hours. "The benefits of outdoor education aren’t accessible to all,” is the title of a recent feature published by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education, which was republished in the High Country News. The author Tina Deines is a writer specializing in nature, the environment, wildlife, and conservation. She states that nature-based education has increased lately because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but affordability is an issue. “Only 3% of outdoor preschoolers are African American and only 7% are Hispanic or Latino, according to Natural Start Alliance’s 2017 survey of 121 nature-based programs in the United States,” Deines reports. This means that most of the children who have the privilege of being in touch with nature come from a similar socioeconomic background, predominantly White Americans. Again, it makes a difference to have a loving family that is eager to enjoy nature, but the reality is that low-income parents work long hours to pay rent and to put food on the table. There’s little time to enjoy family and nature. This could be one of the reasons why when talking about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, so few Latino and African Americans are working in qualified jobs in state and national parks and related entities in the country. To thrive in these conservancy-related jobs, the burden of owing for financial aid to get a degree is not something that disadvantaged families are willing to take on. Read more at https://www.yndianamontes.com/post/darlene-s-story-inspires-engagement-of-minorities-in-environmental-and-conservation-careers
I speak as someone who has spent 20 years covering some of the elements of this environmental catastrophe that dehumanizes the existence of many, just remembering the horrific documentaries about the Chinese, Malaysian and Indian people, especially young ones, working or living surrounded by plastic. So I'm happy to report the bonding and camaraderie around all those that are working for the betterment of the world. For example, the Island of Dominica in The Caribbean launched “Go Green Dominica,” an initiative following a comprehensive ban on all single-use plastic and Styrofoam containers, effective January 2019. The Island applied no import duty on authenticated biodegradable products and reusable shopping bags as of December 2018. I wanted to refer to this case to show how it is perfectly possible to ban plastics. The climate crisis is like a slow motion tsunami, gradually approaching little by little and giving us minimal time to act immediately to stop this non-linear process. Last semester, I studied the feedback loops. This gave me a better understanding of the relationship between high temperatures, fires, reduction in crop yields, just to mention some examples. We have two potential ways here. One is to go more radical, embracing movements like Extinction Rebellion. The other is education. The academy needs to educate not only the students but the people. The communities need to know about the dangers of plastics, heavy metals, methane leaks and feedback loops. People need information in order to change their own imprint of Mother Earth, to know how to buy when things need to be replaced, and how to recycle. The methods we have embraced to deal with the climate crisis haven’t worked. The process seems to be unstoppable and we won’t be able to save ourselves and life on this planet if we are not hands-on into this, the last challenge. And this is essentially my bedrock position: It’s not only about painting murals and making nice presentations. We’re at a point in which our college degrees need to give us a voice, a scream, and develop a closer relationship with the ones who suffer the brunt of this oppression. The Environmental Justice movement needs each one of us. In each one of the fields we have chosen in this Sustainable Development journey, we should act immediately or the Plasticene’s tsunami will devour us in the near future.
Mary Ann Vavalette reads "Abuela" to Gaby Montero
I have no words to describe the love and companionship that Mary Ann has given to my granddaughter Gaby. She has embraced us like family, and even more, but to hear them playing while I work is a balm to my heart. Good luck in the last leg of your life my friend. You're is such a good shape that I believe you will be around for a long time. You're my role model and Qi Gong and yoga do wonders for you. At 83 you look like a kid. Gaby's favorite playmate is leaving to Vermont but will always be around somehow. Love you always.
Meet Renee Boughman, the Executive Director of F.A.R.M Cafe of Boone
"Feed All Regardless of Means", this is the motto of Renee Boughman, the woman behind the operation of the F.A.R.M Cafe. Renee was born to serve; to support the change of the food system in Boone and the High Country in North Carolina. In the middle of Summer 2020, our community was concerned about food security in the area. I rushed to her, worried about the ones that I know depend on F.A.R.M cafe to eat daily. Solutions were more feasible because Boone has a superb food hub (unlike any other in the country, I think), a strong Hospitality House, and the F.A.R.M Cafe, among other important actors. The Sustainable Development Department of Appalachian State University has played a fundamental part in this equity process which makes Boone so unique. Due to Covid-19, F.A.R.M. Cafe is adjusting their service schedule. In Winter they're open from Tuesday to Friday for Curbside and To-Go meals only. I'm looking forward to go back and support F.A.R.M Cafe as I have done in the last three years, not only for the great work they're doing and I love to volunteers and collaborate in many ways, but because the food is DELICIOUS.
Ashe County Farmers Market And West Jefferson State Park's Rhododendron Trail
Summertime 2020 was a difficult one with the Covid-1 at Appstate, but I still managed to have a great time especially on Saturdays. When living in Boone one of my favorite activities is to go to the farmer's markets in town, but I also love to go to the one in West Jefferson. After covering what's new at the Ashe County Farmer's Market (special thanks to the High Ridge Pickers for such an amazing live music!), I drive 10 minutes and voilá... I'm in the West Jefferson State Park! I stop several times to admire the breathtaking views, until I pick a spot and stop. I'm hungry. From the trunk of my Subaru while looking at the landscape, I nibble on the delicious snacks and veggies that I've already bought at the market. Then, I start hiking! The tunes I've used for the Rhododendron Trail are from Adobe Rush, the program I'm editing with. I think it goes well. The Rhododendron Trail is a beautiful loop trail in which I enjoy the impressive overlooks of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and the New River. Next time I'll go to West Jefferson State Park I'll show you another one of the trails.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, The High Country Food Hub, and FARMSHARE
My apologies! How could this important video took me so long to edit? It was a matter of lack of time and excess of work. Please Like my video if you enjoyed it after you watch it! BRWIA's Veterans Carol Coulter and Judith Phoenix talk about the High Country Food Hub and its importance for food security in the High Country. In these Covid-19 times, the Food Hub has been fundamental for receiving and packing food boxes for the hospitality industry employees. By the middle of last year (when I went to the Food Hub to shoot this video), the hospitality workers were with their jobs in jeopardy. During the worst months of the pandemic, the Food Hub was the recipient of a grant from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. This really made a difference for our hospitality workers, and the hard work and mystic of this organization made possible the distribution. Thank you Michelle Houston for your kindness and patience! Even that you were so busy packing the boxes for the hospitality employees with Ken Sheldon & Emily Rodriguez, FarmsShare volunteers (Emily was also an intern with BRWIA at the time). And thanks so much to FARMSSHARE! Farms Serving Hospitality and Restaurants Employees... the work you're doing is definitively remarkable.
Music and Art at the Watauga County Farmer's Market
There isn't nothing more enjoyable than to drive to farmer's markets in the Appalachian region for us. To be able to get fresh food, good honey, healthy veggies and organic products is a blessing. But not only vegetables and fruits from nurtured soils are the attractions at the Watauga County Farmer’s Market of Boone, and others markets. The High Country markets offer almost all what we need to nurture body and soul. But as we have shared so much about the farmers, this time we're featuring music bands, duos, and also we interviewed an artist, a painter. The footage for this video wasn't recorded in one day. It took several Saturdays at the Watauga County Farmer's Market. Special thanks to the manager Mary Goodnight, and the farmers. Looking forward Spring and Summer to continue promoting farmers, art, sustainable living and sustainable development. Please Like my video and follow my channel!