Rue Mapp offers transformation through new book, ‘Nature Swagger’ – Times-Herald

For those looking for change through nature, the new book “Nature Swagger” seems like a global roadmap.

Or in this case the universal Rue Mapp collection.

Mapp, originally from Vallejo, is the founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro and oversees carefully selected and trained staff and national volunteers. Since launching Outdoor Afro in 2009 as a blog, Rue has attracted the attention and support of millions of people through a multimedia approach based on personal connection and community organization. She took celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams on a date.

Last week, Mapp spoke with the Times-Herald to discuss “Nature Swagger” and how healthy it is to find your nature around and inside. Mixed throughout, “Nature Swagger” is an article from Mapp on the rich history of black involvement in exterior activities and conservation, as well as a resource for readers who want to explore nature in a new way. It is a combination of photos, stories and black history.

“During the last two years, I wrote this book while racism was rampant across the country,” Rapp said. “I want to double up and remind people that nature never closes and it is always nearby. Nature is really a platform for change. This book is not just for me, but it is a collection of many people and it is very diverse. Our youngest contributor is 9 years old, while our oldest contributor is 99 years old. There are 30 contributors. ”

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Mapp said the book is full of all kinds of pictures, from the 1970s to more recent photos.

Mapp will be at the Alibi Bookshop to promote “Nature Swagger” on December 11th.

Outdoor Afro, meanwhile, is a national non-profit organization that has become the nation’s leading network for celebrating and inspiring black relationships and leadership in nature. They have offices in Oakland and Washington, DC and a nationwide leadership network. With more than 100 volunteer leaders trained in 30 states from around the country, Outdoor Afro connects thousands of people to outdoor experiences and is actively changing the face of conservation. Originally outdoors, Afro now enjoys national sponsorship and is recognized by large organizations for its role in addressing the ongoing need for greater diversity outside.

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Mapp is no stranger to helping Solano County and Vallejo. Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson announced that Mapp is the 2022 Solano Climate Crisis Champion.

Thompson noted that over the past five years, Outdoor Afro has included policy and education groups advocating for environmental protection laws, including water conservation funds that fund parks and public lands. Outdoor Afro includes over 60,000 participants and more than 100 volunteer leaders who promote and participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, cycling and more.

“Mike Thompson has always been consistent with his love of Outdoor Afro,” Mapp said. “He gave us accommodation in 2019 as well. He is really special. I share the same passion for duck hunting like him and in 2018 we both participated in community cycling. Take all the way from the waterfront to the Carquinez Bridge and back. ”

Mapp says it’s important to explore nature in your hometown, not just far away.

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Mapp said: “I really like the Vallejo waterfront because it is so diverse. “It was a crossroads of warmth and people really said to you there and said ‘hello,'” Mapp said. “Fish there and eat at good restaurants there.”

Mapp said she also likes Chabot Lake because of the kayaks and parks on Mare Island as well as her own Vista neighborhood.

“Nature is really equal,” Mapp said. “When I take Oprah and Serena for a walk, I think they just want to go to a clinic where no one tells them what to do. Where they can get out of the public eye. Nature makes everything smooth. Trees do not care that you are black. Leaves do not care how much money is in your bank account. I feel like they have experiences in nature that they can enjoy.

Nature Swagger, Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors are available at Chronicle Books as well as bookstores such as Alibi Bookshop in Vallejo.


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