Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Parks, Recreation, and Outdoor Spaces Matters


Why Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Parks, Recreation, and Outdoor Spaces Matters - Online Classroom

Online Webinar with Dr. Todd Davis on integrating DEI principles into outdoor adventure education practices. A Leadership Development Series presentation.

  • Casual

6:00-7:30pm PST via Zoom Meeting
Meeting link will be sent to registered attendees the day of the session.

This will be a hybrid presentation with some lecture/discussion regarding historical and research-based aspects impacting Where DEI is today, but also interactive engagements using online conversation technology. Participants are strongly encouraged to speak up throughout the presentation. Dr. Davis wants this to be a cooperative journey exploring DEI-related topics to better understand everyone’s perspectives with added insight.

In the realm of outdoor adventure education, the call for embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has gained significant momentum. This presentation delves into the crucial aspects of integrating DEI principles into outdoor adventure education practices. By acknowledging that the outdoors should be accessible and welcoming to all, we pave the way for a more inclusive and enriching learning environment.

Presentation Focus:

Understanding Diversity in Outdoor Education:

  • Explore the multifaceted dimensions of diversity, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, ability, socioeconomic background, and more.
  • Recognize how diverse perspectives enrich the learning experience and contribute to holistic personal development.

Equity in Access and Opportunity:

  • Address the disparities in access to outdoor education experiences and opportunities.
  • Discuss strategies to ensure equitable access for marginalized and underrepresented groups, promoting a level playing field.

Creating Inclusive Learning Spaces:

  • Examine the significance of creating safe and inclusive spaces that respect and celebrate individual identities.
  • Highlight the role of inclusive language, respectful communication, and culturally responsive teaching methods.

Challenging Stereotypes and Bias:

  • Address unconscious biases and stereotypes that can perpetuate exclusivity in outdoor education.
  • Discuss techniques to confront and overcome these biases to foster a more inclusive learning environment.

Curriculum Development with an Inclusive Lens:

  • Explore ways to adapt outdoor education curricula to incorporate diverse narratives, histories, and perspectives.
  • Showcase examples of culturally relevant content that resonate with a broader range of learners.

Empowering Marginalized Voices:

  • Amplify the voices of individuals from marginalized communities who have historically been underrepresented in outdoor education.
  • Share success stories of initiatives that have empowered these voices and catalyzed change.

Collaboration and Partnerships:

  • Emphasize the importance of collaboration with diverse organizations, communities, and stakeholders to broaden the impact of outdoor education.
  • Discuss how partnerships can help bridge gaps, share resources, and enhance DEI efforts.

In summary, this presentation will underscore the pivotal role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in transforming outdoor education into a realm that nurtures personal growth, social understanding, and interconnectedness. By embracing these principles, outdoor adventure education professionals not only enrich others’ learning experiences but also contribute to a more equitable and harmonious society.


Dr. Todd Davis (he/him/his) is an award-winning assistant professor at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, and is the academic coordinator for recreation administration and the director for outdoor programs. A former decorated helicopter rescue swimmer/aviation survival technician in the United States Coast Guard. Dr. Davis focuses on risk mitigation and assessment in outdoor adventure education. He has led and guided 1000s of college students on introduction to advanced wilderness expeditions from mountain biking and rock climbing in Moab, Utah to canyoneering and canoeing in Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande in Big Bend, Texas. His research efforts document and explore perceived benefits of and barriers to outdoor recreation participation among disenfranchised ethnic and marginalized groups. Dr. Davis is the host and producer of Turn Row Coaches, a podcast exposing the stories of amazing coaches in the Mississippi Delta going above and beyond to ensure their student-athletes get a chance to play the game.  He teaches about and embeds DEI aspects into all curriculum taught in sport, recreation, and outdoor education. Dr. Davis is the Delta State University 2023 Dedicated Innovator for Student Engagement of the Year, 2022 State of Mississippi Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Educator of the Year, 2021 Delta State University Georgene Clark Diversity Champion awardee, and the 2021 Mississippi Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance University Faculty of the Year awardee.

 Lead image: Upper Eagle Lake. By Cheryl Talbert


Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Computer or device (preferably with a speaker and camera), as well as high-speed internet.

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