Now Reading
NNS Spotlight – How Nearby Nature Milwaukee works with Black residents to increase their interest in the environment

NNS Spotlight – How Nearby Nature Milwaukee works with Black residents to increase their interest in the environment

NNS Spotlight: How Nearby Nature Milwaukee works to get Black residents interested in the environment

Nearby Nature offers environmental education for five years. Here Madison Campbell (left) explains to Olivia Raasch (right) how to classify rocks based upon texture and appearance. (NNS photo by Ana Martinez Ortiz

Nearby Nature Milwaukee exists in order to increase environmental diversity and inclusion.

The group has been around for five years and is dedicated to reuniting Black people with the natural world. It offers nature education classes to help them understand how to enjoy nature, and also introduces Milwaukeeans to new outdoor experiences.

Sierra Taliaferro, cofounder, said that we want to create positive experiences so that Black people want to be outside.

Taliaferro grew-up with a curiosity for nature, but she didn’t see many people like her. 

Although the group encourages people to be outside for obvious health and wellbeing reasons, members claim that it is more than that. 

Nearby Nature Milwaukee’s program director Steven Hunter stated that there aren’t enough Black people who are interested in green careers. This is because they don’t have enough knowledge. 

Green jobs are those that preserve and restore the environment. Many have been around since the beginning, such as agriculture. Others are new opportunities, such as environmental engineers or solar installers. Others are jobs that many people overlook such as waste management and hazardous materials clean up.

Hunter stated that Milwaukee has many of these jobs and that people can make nature normal for them to help them get into this field. 

Hunter asked Hunter how you can know if you want to work somewhere, if you don’t know what the job is. 

Nearby Nature is not only a source of economic success, but also helps to create resilient communities through the access to nature. 

Martina Patterson, Nearby Nature’s arts and youth educator, is working to restore prairies along Milwaukee’s North Side. The goal is to encourage the natural progression of ecosystems in order to beautify the area and support wildlife. 

Patterson said that it will increase the property’s value. To help residents see and understand the area’s value, we want to include them. 

Patterson stated that she would like residents to be involved in maintaining the space for many years. 

Nearby Nature wants to remind Black Milwaukeeans that nature is available for all.

Hunter stated that this takes a lot. 

He said that it means changing the perception of nature as being only for white people. If we can get Black people to enjoy nature recreationally, then we grow in every aspect of life. 

He stated that connecting to nature is valuable. 

Hunter stated that we as a society value things more than experiencing them. Being able experience nature is simply being around the one thing God has called you to do. 

How to get involved

Nearby Nature Milwaukee hosts monthly events that connect people with nature. 

Follow its Twitter feed to get involved Facebook page or check out Its website. 



View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.