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From CNN:

Audrey Peterman grew up surrounded by Jamaica’s verdant mountains and lush mango orchards. She’d watch fish and an occasional shrimp dart in the stream that flowed near her house. When she settled in America, she yearned to relish the natural beauty of her new homeland.

She and her husband, Frank, climbed into their Ford F-150 pickup and drove 12,000 miles through 40 states to see 14 national and state parks. She marveled at the untouched vistas of the Badlands, Yellowstone and Yosemite national parks.

But amid the breathtaking views, she noticed a glaring omission. Under the pristine blue skies, there were hardly any people of color.

“At Yellowstone, it occurred to me — how come there are no black people around?” Peterman said.

Why? she wondered. Why weren’t they enjoying the parks they helped create, the public lands that belonged to them as well? Peterman embarked on a crusade to address the problem.

This month, her work will culminate in a national conference in Atlanta, Georgia — Breaking the Color Barrier in the Great American Outdoors — that focuses on increasing the participation of minorities in outdoor activities.

Peterman said she hopes to showcase the diversity of Americans who are committed to the environment and expose more people of color to the great outdoors.

“I never saw stories on national parks or the environment in Ebony, Jet or Essence,” she said. “Parks are an unknown quantity to people of color.”

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