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Adirondacks for All

Towards a More Inclusive Adirondack Wilderness

August 23, 2022 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free
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In 1892 the Adirondack Park was established for “the free use of all the people for their health and pleasure.” Unfortunately, this expansive democratic ideal, commonly associated with public lands, tends to obscure the economic, cultural, and geographic barriers that have undercut efforts to make the Adirondacks a more inclusive and welcoming space. The demographic composition of the Adirondacks region, including permanent residents and seasonal visitors, equally complicates this founding vision. While this history has deep roots in the North Country, the events of the past two years, including the pandemic and national reckonings with social and racial justice, has spurred a re-examining of inequity in the Adirondacks and its connection to land and water access, conservation, and environmental justice. Much work remains to realize this founding vision, but thanks to a number of individuals and organizations, sustained commitments to diversity, representation, and equity are opening space for a more inclusive, welcoming, and accessible Adirondack wilderness. In this program, Robbi Mecus, Klarisse Torriente, and Nicky Hylton-Patterson will explore why having a broad spectrum of representation in the Adirondacks matters, opportunities to find solutions in community, and the intersection of identity and belonging in the Adirondacks.

 

 

 About The Speaker:

Klarisse Torriente is an AfroLatina, Social Worker, and lifelong adventurer born and raised in Newburgh, NY. Through her high school’s distance team, she was able to better connect with the land through running, hiking, and swimming. She moved to the Capital District in 2014 to get a Masters in Social Work. It was around that time that she began to hike in the Adirondacks and fell deeply in love with the region. Through many, many solo hikes, camps, and group experiences, she has found opportunities to heal and emotionally coregulate walking on Adirondack ground.  She became a volunteer Summit Steward in 2021 and was the first black human to be in that position. Her goal in life overall is to create opportunity and empowerment for marginalized folks in our society, especially People of Color and low-income humans in pursuit of joy.

Nicole “Nicky” Hylton-Patterson joined the Adirondack North Country Association family as the Director for the Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI) in December 2019. Her journey from St. Catherine, Jamaica to Saranac Lake is one marked by lengthy sojourns in Trondheim, Norway, Elmira, NY, and Tempe, AZ.  A relentless advocate for justice and equity, Nicky brings 20+ years of experience as a community organizer, educator, activist scholar and diversity & inclusion subject matter expert and practitioner to the role. When she isn’t working with the ADI family of advocates, allies, and affiliates on ensuring that the Adirondacks is a place where biodiversity reflects human diversity, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking and horseback riding. During fierce Adirondack winters, Nicky is equally happy ensconced with a good book and working on her latest piece of haute couture inspired creation.

Robbi Mecus is a resident of Keene Valley and has been a NYS Forest Ranger for 23 years, nine of those in the Adirondacks. She is an avid rock and ice climber, as well as a single parent of a nine-year-old child. She is also the first woman to work as a NYS Forest Ranger in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks, and the first openly Trans Forest Ranger in New York State. Robbi belevies it is important to explore the intersection of policing and the “law enforcement role” of a Ranger and how it affects different communities who may come to recreate in these spaces, namely the Black and Brown communities and the LGBTQIA community.

 

 

 

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