James Edward Mills
Through The Adventure Gap ~ An exploration of the racial disparities and inequities of the environmental conservation movement and the efforts that aim to correct them
The nation’s wild places from national and state parks to national forests, preserves, and wilderness areas belong to all Americans. But not all of us use these resources equally. Minority populations are much less likely to seek recreation, adventure, and solace in our wilderness spaces. It’s a difference that African American author James Edward Mills addresses in his 2014 book, The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors.
Bridging the so-called “adventure gap” requires role models who can inspire the uninitiated to experience and enjoy wild places. Once new visitors are there, a love affair often follows. This is important because as our country grows increasingly multicultural, our natural legacy will need the devotion of people of all races and ethnicities to steward its care.
In this presentation for the 2018 Adventure Film Festival Mills offers a multi-media journey through time to explore the adventure gap and seek out proactive means through which it can be drawn closed. Through the careful study of successful outreach and advocacy programs across the country this story share aims to provide the audience with a solid understanding of best practices to achieve positive change in national efforts to make outdoor recreation and environmental conservation more diverse, inclusive and culturally relevant to the interests of all Americans.
Illustrated with original photographs and videos detailing historic accounts of expeditions of the past as well as a few from his most recent projects Mills aims to share the often-forgotten heritage and legacy of non-white adventurers and explorers who helped to shape the creation of the National Park System and the modern conservation movement.
James Edward Mills is a 2014 Fellow of the Mountain & Wilderness Writing Program of the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada and the 2016 recipient of the Paul K. Petzoldt Award For Environmental Education. As a freelance journalist and an independent media producer in a career that spans more than 20 years he specializes in sharing stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living. He has worked in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, writer, and photographer. He is the author of the new book “The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors”.
James is a contributor to several outdoor-focused print and online publications such as National Geographic Adventure, Rock & Ice, Alpinist, SUP, Elevation Outdoors, Women’s Adventure, the Clymb.com, Park Advocate, High Country News, Appalachia Journal, The Guarding, Outside Magazine and Land & People. For his work sharing the story of Buffalo Soldiers and their service in the creation of the National Park Service James was named a 2016 Yosemite National Park Centennial Ambassador.