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Nature for Beginners: An Expert Offers Tips on Feeling Comfortable Outdoors

The new book Nature Swagger offers plenty of inspiration and tips from author Rue Mapp for how people of color and adventure-beginners can feel safe and happy experiencing the wonders of nature.

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Photo: Tiffanie Page

Rue Mapp has always loved the outdoors. The founder of the national organization, Outdoor Afro, Rue is a hunter, adventurer and motivational speaker, and she recently added author to her many titles. Her first book Nature Swagger continues the mission of Outdoor Afro and celebrates the Black outdoor experience around the world through dazzling photos, engaging stories and essays.

Though she grew up in Oakland, California, Mapp spent her weekends and summers on a family ranch a few hours outside of the city. During her childhood, she experienced the life-changing power of connecting with nature, and in 2009 Mapp created Outdoor Afro, a blog that would transform into a national movement.

Today, Outdoor Afro is a national network that encourages and provides opportunities for Black people to experience the outdoors, and the non-profit organization has grown to a network of over 60,000 people in 60 cities. Read on to get Rue's advice for beginner adventurers who are looking to get outdoors and spend more time in nature.

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Photo: Chronicle Books

Know What Your Risks Are

For those heading outside for the first time, it’s always important to understand the risks involved. To mitigate risk, start by doing your research. Know where you’re going and what climate conditions to expect. You should also do some research about the right gear and equipment to travel comfortably with, your options for hydration and what food to take with you. It also never hurts to bring along a companion in case you need help or support.

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Photo: Chronicle Books

Get Hooked on Fishing

Fishing is a great beginner outdoor activity, and with a fishing license, you can fish off local piers, lakes or streams. You can start by visiting a local bait and tackle shop close to where you would like to fish. Professionals at these shops are a treasure trove of information about fishing in your area, and they can assist with startup gear that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

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Photo: Chronicle Books

Embrace What Brings You Joy

Sometimes when we try something new, there’s a fear that people will not understand or support what brings us joy. Sometimes the fear is because we’re not quite sure about our abilities or whether or not we will be successful, but stay true to who you are and focus on what brings you joy.

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