Exploring the outdoors and feeling seen

Three adults walk through the forest chatting and smiling
Photo credit: Ife Akinroyeje

Did you know that spending time amongst the trees is scientifically proven to boost your mental and physical health? The simple act of stepping outside, visiting a forest, being active, and immersing yourself in the natural world can do wonders for our wellbeing.

Nature can also be seen as a sanctuary, to break barriers and find inner peace. This is true for Wanderers of Colour, established in 2016 with a mission to create a welcoming space within the UK's outdoor community for people of colour.

We caught up with founder, Ife Akinroyeje, alongside some other community members at Bedgebury National Pinetum and Forest.  

We listened as Ife discussed how this vibrant community celebrates diversity, embraces the healing power of nature, and fosters a sense of belonging for all its members.

Nature as a sanctuary for mental wellbeing 

The group's visit coincided with Mental Health Awareness Week, sparking meaningful conversations about mental wellbeing and the outdoors. 
Nature has long been recognized as a sanctuary for mental health, and Pareace, one of the participants spoke about nature as:

“A space where I find solace, connection, and healing.”  

The forest visit strengthened the understanding of how nature nurtures mental wellbeing and empowers individuals to reclaim their inner strength. 

Three adults stand together on a bridge in the forest
Photo credit: Ife Akinroyeje
Women sat on the forest floor smiling to camera
Photo credit: Pareace Sargeant-Mascoe

Exploring the outdoors and feeling seen  

Wanderers of Colour is a community where members don’t have to choose between exploring the outdoors and feeling seen.  

Their mission is to improve access and increase participation within nature and outdoor activities for all people of colour, by reducing and removing barriers to the outdoors. This extends to developing necessary skills and knowledge so members can continue their own journey beyond our community. For many members, joining a Wanderers of Colour event was their first time engaging in the outdoors. 

“Diversity is celebrated, the healing power of nature is harnessed, and we cultivate belonging.”  

Many people who come to a Wanderers of Colour event talk about the want for a like-minded community. Unfortunately, this is often following experiences of discrimination, and other barriers.

"I wanted a space where I could get outdoors but also feel welcome and like I belong. Wanderers of Colour is this space for black and people of colour"

These barriers can represent themselves as fears and experiences of discrimination, a lack of community or knowledge of engaging activities, and socioeconomic inequalities such as proximity to green spaces, as well as financial barriers.

Wanderers of Colour provides a space for people of colour, and a community that is:

“So freeing, it’s a rare thing to find a space where I have fun, can explore, and be understood all at once.” 

Nature should be accessible to everyone

Irrespective of race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability, or socioeconomic background, everyone should be able to reap the joy and healing of green spaces.

Wanderers of Colour is building a remarkable community and breaking down barriers and empowering people of colour communities to explore the great outdoors with confidence and pride.

Three adults smiling leaning on a large tree trunk
Photo credit: Ife Akinroyeje


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