Juneteenth and Father’s Day Celebration at Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Dudley Edmondson, Nature Photographer and Author of “Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places,” hosts a presentation and bird walk with community members about fostering a connection with nature for people of color.

Columbus, OH (June 16, 2024) - On June 16, the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in Columbus, Ohio, held a memorable Juneteenth and Father's Day celebration. The event featured renowned author, photographer, and filmmaker Dudley Edmondson, who has dedicated his career to making the outdoors more inclusive. Edmondson’s work highlights the involvement of African Americans in the public lands system, aiming to inspire and encourage other people of color to explore the natural world.

The celebration began with a captivating presentation by Edmondson, during which he shared insights from his book, "Black & Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places." His book emphasizes the importance of representation in outdoor spaces and encourages African Americans to embrace nature's healing power. Edmondson conveyed many lessons he gained from his deep connection with the natural world, including developing problem-solving skills, building self-confidence and self-reliance, and fostering independent thinking. He also shared how nature’s slower pace has taught him patience and the value of appreciating silence, allowing for a more profound understanding and observation of everything around him. Edmondson’s passion for nature, combined with his mission to make it more inclusive, resonated deeply with the audience.

During his talk, Edmondson highlighted many organizations that promote people of color in nature, such as Latino Outdoors, The Outbound Collective, Black Folks Camp Too, Natives Outdoors, and many more. He also introduced his upcoming book, "People the Planet Needs Now," which is set to be released on January 7, 2025. Edmondson stated, "This new work will highlight BIPOC storytellers discussing science, the environment, and social justice, providing an unfiltered platform for them to share their perspectives and expose the challenges people of color face related to these fields.” He also emphasized, “the critical need to decolonize science and conservation, demanding environmental justice for people of color to effectively address the climate and social crisis."

Following the presentation, the event featured a book and photo signing session with Dudley Edmondson. Attendees had the chance to purchase his book, which includes a children’s version, with proceeds supporting the center, as well as his stunning bird photography. This segment allowed guests to connect with Edmondson on a personal level, gaining deeper insights into his work and the importance of diverse representation in the outdoors. After the signing, attendees participated in a guided bird hike led by Edmondson and Nicole Jackson, an environmental educator and avid birder. This hike offered a unique opportunity to learn about local bird species and enjoy the serene environment of the Audubon Center.

A highlight of the event was the presence of Crafted Culture Brewery, Central Ohio's first Black-owned brewery, which provided free samples of their Panama Crunk Juice to guests over 21. This addition brought a refreshing and celebratory atmosphere to the day, allowing attendees to enjoy local craft beer while engaging in meaningful discussions about nature and inclusion.

This event was sponsored by Grange Insurance. 

~ Aayushi Soni, Columbus Foundation Communications Fellow at Grange Insurance Audubon Center in Columbus Oh. 

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