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Adirondacks for All

Wilderness For All

novembre 2, 2022 7:00 - 8:00
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This is a virtual event to take place on Zoom.

Today, in order to remain relevant, we must adapt and address the challenges and obstacles that stand in the way of promoting a more diverse and inclusive environment. This is especially true of a place like the Adirondack Park. There is an increasing recognition that a host of cultural, geographic, and economic barriers continue to undercut the Park’s democratic commitment to “the free use of all the people for their health and pleasure.” If the Adirondack community wishes to provide a wide range of opportunities to all visitors– including those marginalized by physical disabilities, economic burdens, or legacies of exclusion–Park managers, stakeholders, and private sector partners could learn from individuals and organizations working at the grass-roots to open Adirondack wilderness to traditionally underrepresented groups. The panelists featured in this roundtable discussion have spent considerable time and energy bridging the access and equity gap, connecting Black and Indigenous youth, among others, with an environmental and cultural heritage that should transcend cultural, racial, and economic boundaries. Benita Law-Diao, Annie Cree, and Stephanie Morningstar will share their personal journey with the Adirondacks and discuss opportunities to move forward in a more positive direction.


 À propos des orateurs :

Benita Law-Diao is a NYS Licensed Public Health Nutritionist/Dietitian. She served 32 years with the NYS Department of Health. During her career she was a Public Health Nutritionist, Contract Manager, and Program Research Specialist. Throughout her life Ms. Law-Diao has held a strong passion for the environment and sustainable living. For five consecutive years, she and her co-workers rode bicycles across New York State to market the re-opening of the Erie Canal and increase public awareness of this world class recreational asset. As a past President of the Hudson-Mohawk Council and a National Board Member of Hostelling International USA, she led efforts to encourage more people of color to participate in travel and recreation. Ms. Law-Diao is the Outdoor Afro Leader for Albany and Upstate New York. She advises Eagle Island Camp in Saranac Lake. She is also a member of the Albany Riverfront Collaborative and works to forge robust civic partnerships necessary to nurture a river-connected and sustaining community with a vibrant and interdependent economy, culture and landscape. As a Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County Master Gardener, she works with the community on a variety of sustainable agriculture and beautification projects. In May 2022, Ms. Law-Diao was appointed to the Adirondack Park Agency, the first African-American to serve on the board.


Stephanie Morningstar is Mohawk, Oneida, and mixed European descent. She is an herbalist, soil and seed steward, scholar, student, and Earth Worker dedicated to decolonizing and liberating minds, hearts, and land- one plant, person, ecosystem, and non-human being at a time. Stephanie is the Executive Director of the Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, an organization dedicated to advancing land access for BIPOC land stewards of color. Stephanie tends medicines at Sky World Apothecary & Farm; and teaches about the wonders of plant medicine at Seed, Soil, + Spirit School. Stephanie’s theory of change is rooted in community-driven, self-determined solutions created by BIPOC communities for BIPOC communities. She carries with her over a decade of Indigenous community-driven systems change work in healthcare, legal, herbal, agricultural, land access, and academic research spaces where she cut her teeth on speaking Truth to Power. Her work advancing sovereignty in institutional spaces with and for Indigenous communities has resulted in mandating Indigenous Cultural Safety training to service providers; Indigenous Dispute Transformation frameworks; and meaningful and ethical Indigenous-driven research in climate change.


Annie Cree is a Mohawk of Akwesasne and part of the Bear Clan, wife to Evan Cree and proud mother of four. Annie is Director of Outdoor Programming for Iakwa’shatste youth fitness and Youth Coach and team trainer to a few local minor sports teams. Working at IYF she is able to offer land-based activities such as hiking, biking, canoeing and snowshoeing to name a few. She also offers family-oriented programming and workshops to help educate parents and children together on safety issues, wellness, cooking classes, and traditional teachings and workshops. Annie has been a youth mentor for over a decade helping local youth with college prep or finding jobs and sometimes just being there for an ear to listen to what they have to say. Annie has also developed a running program that is offered in Akwesasne to the 5 local schools that helps prepare runners for a few different running events including the Ottawa marathon Kids run. Last year there were 65 kids total that participated in the program and 28 that attended the marathon. Annie is also a member of the Akwesasne Suicide Prevention Committee, The Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment and the Community Health and Social Educators Committee all that help to bring wellness to the community.