Texas Outdoor Family Makes Texas Parks More Accessible to Diverse Communities

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October 27, 2022

African American Mental Health and Wellness (AMEN) team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis County. 

Texas Outdoor Family Makes Texas Parks More Accessible to Diverse Communities

October 26, 2022 Podcast:

Audio file

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Nicole Renfro, who is a dedicated volunteer for causes that preserve natural resources. Through her volunteer efforts with Texas Outdoor Family, she spends her free time educating and inspiring under-served populations to get out and discover the benefits of nature.

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, in partnership with Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation will celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks beginning in January 2023. In addition, the Texas Outdoor Family program provides over 900 families with a "Learn to Camp" experience in Texas State Parks each year. The Texas Outdoor Family program strives to “take away any barriers or obstacles families would have in getting outdoors.” The program hosts 1-to-2-day camping events at 50 different parks in the Texas park system.

Texas Outdoor Family offers partnerships with leaders of schools, churches, veteran organizations, and nonprofit organizations to help people become more familiar with the Texas park system. Texas Outdoor Family is excited about its efforts to reach out to communities of color, including the Black community, to make it easier, safer, and more affordable for community members to get outside. According to recent National Park Service data, people of color make up 42 percent of the U.S. population, yet 23 percent of park visitors were people of color and only six percent identified as Black.

Renfro emphasizes that getting out in nature can have important physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. Nicole shares that more African Americans can take advantage of the State Parks and Camping programs by getting away from the demands of everyday life, connecting with others, and experiencing the power of communing with nature.

Texas Parks & Wildlife is striving to get underrepresented populations out into the parks. For more information on the Outdoor programs, email tofsp@tpwd.texas.gov or call (512)-389-8903. To learn more about the wide variety of workshops and nature events, visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife.


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