By Jennifer Chambers
Women’s Adventure magazine, REI, American Hiking Society, Mountaineers Books, and Hiking Along have teamed up to produce a three-part women’s speaker series this spring in Washington, D.C. This REI pilot project is an opportunity for women in the DC region to gather and share past stories of outdoor adventure, future aspirations to test their limits, and collective words of encouragement to “just do it”. Each event headlines three amazingly, adventurous, outdoorsy women who will share their inspirations, aspirations, barriers, and tales of adventure.
March 29 at 6:30 p.m. – Patricia Ellis Herr, Author of Up: A Mother & Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure
April 26 at 9:30 a.m. – Rue Mapp, Founder of Outdoor Afro
May 31 at 6:30 p.m. – Vanessa Garrison, Founder & Director, GirlTrek
Join us at the Rockville REI in Maryland for a glass of wine, conversations, stories, and an opportunity to talk with area outdoor organizations. The outdoors is a wild and wonderful place, and you should be in it!
Patricia Ellis Herr
Patricia Ellis Herr and her two daughters, Alexandra (12) and Sage (10), are avid four-season hikers living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They have hiked, on average, a mountain a week since June 2008. The trio hike out of love of nature and not competition. That being said, because of their constant hiking, both Alex and Sage have each broken records for being the youngest person to finish various New Hampshire mountain lists. In 2013, the trio hiked Spain’s 500-mile Camino de Santiago to raise $10,000 for the nonprofits Global Fund for Women and GirlVentures. Last summer, the three hiked California’s John Muir Trail and raised over $2000 for Feeding America. The trio also highpoint the United States (44 thus far) and hope to get Borah Peak (#45) this summer. Patricia Ellis Herr is the author of Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure (Braodway Books, 2012). Alex and Sage have both published essays in the monthly Courageous Creativity (Flying Chickadee 2014).
During her childhood, founder Rue Mapp split her time between urban Oakland, California, and her families’ working ranch in the Northern woodlands, where she cultivated a passion for natural spaces, farming, and learned how to hunt and fish. As a youth, her participation in the Girl Scouts and Outward Bound broadened her outdoor experiences, such as camping, mountaineering, rock climbing, and road bicycling. But Rue was troubled by the consistently low numbers of African Americans participating in these activities. So for two decades, Rue has used digital media as an important and practical tool to connect with people of color who share her outdoor interests. Outdoor Afro emerged naturally from these experiences.
Rue has a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was inspired by her study of the artistic representation of the American forests. She is also a successful entrepreneur whose game and hobby store start-up (It’s Your Move) remains an important part of the Oakland community. In 2010, Rue was honored to be invited to the White House to participate in the America’s Great Outdoors Conference where President Obama signed an historic memorandum to help reconnect all Americans to the Great Outdoors, and was invited back to take part in a think-tank to inform the launch of the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative. She was also appointed program officer at the Stewardship Council’s Foundation for Youth Investment where she served for two years to manage its grantmaking program.
Vanessa Garrison is a passionate advocate of social justice issues and has focused her work on improving health outcomes and quality of life for Black women and girls. Vanessa currently serves as the COO of GirlTrek, a national health movement that she co-founded in 2011. Through grassroots organizing and award-winning social media campaigns, GirlTrek currently supports over 25,000 walkers and inspires an ever-growing network of 200,000 supporters. Prior to co-founding GirlTrek, Vanessa worked as a Program Coordinator for Our Place DC, a nonprofit organization that provides services to currently and formerly incarcerated women. Vanessa began her career working in digital media with Turner Broadcasting System. Inc. in Atlanta, GA. where she managed digital media projects for some the world’s most recognizable news and entertainment brands, including, CNN, TNT and Sports Illustrated. Vanessa was awarded Teach For America’s 2012 Social Innovation Award and was named among the top 1% of global social innovators by Echoing Green. She has been featured on NPR, CNN and the New York Times. In 2013 Vanessa was appointed to serve on the Washington D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council where she advises the Mayor and District agencies on bicycling issues. Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Culture from UCLA.
Jennifer Chambers is the author of Best Hikes with Kids: Washington DC, The Beltway & Beyond, and Watershed Adventures of a Water Bottle, Founder of Hiking Along, LLC., and middle school Science teacher. She is the board chair for the American Hiking Society and Maryland State Advocate for Leave No Trace.
Jennifer’s most recent piece about feminism in the outdoors has been popular with the Women’s Adventure magazine community. Read it here.
Category: Making a Difference