This Group Is Helping Black Families in Metro Detroit Experience the Healing Power of Nature

One of the best things about summer in Michigan is the natural beauty of our state.

Hiking, camping, canoeing, and similar outdoor pursuits are some of the ways many Michigan residents love to spend time during the warmer weather months.

However, these opportunities aren’t as accessible as they should be for all Metro Detroiters, especially Metro BIPOC Communities. This is where the founders of the Black to the Land Coalition come into play.

The group organizes outdoor trips for families and also helps with providing equipment such as tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and more.

In 2018, Detroit-based Djenaba Ali was invited by a friend to camp with her five children in the Proud Lake Recreation Area in Commerce Township. She says it was a wonderful experience that she felt it was now her mission to make camping more accessible to families like hers.

I’ve always been a nature girl, but … this was my first opportunity [in years], “She says.” The rest is history. “

Ali and a group of other fans of outdoor recreation started the Black to the Land Coalition. Journalist Rhonda Smith recently wrote for Planet Detroit environmental website about the group and the importance of connecting with natural spaces to black families.

Many of us [in the BIPOC communities] reclaimed that because we see the healing powers of nature, ”says Smith. “I want to share this with people, it’s a real thing, it doesn’t cost a lot, but … the equipment can cost a lot, so we need supporters like Black to the Land Coalition.”

Listen: Hear Ali and Smith talk about the importance of time in nature to Black Metro Detroiters, and how the Black to the Land Coalition is helping to make it easy.

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