Anthony Taylor: The Outdoors Evangelist On How Nature Heals

Time in nature is powerful. It’s healing. It fosters community. Humanity’s connective tissue, it shows you who you are and what you’re capable of becoming.

The outdoors has played a transformational role in my personal evolution. In almost every way I am a different, better human because I make copious use of the untouched natural spaces available to me—spaces I access freely and have long taken for granted.

However, the uncomfortable truth is that outdoor parks (nature in general) are places where historically not everyone has been entirely welcome.

This is a paradigm we must diligently work to dismantle.

It’s also the spark that illuminates the work of Anthony Taylor—an extraordinary human who has spent his life advocating for greater participation and access to outdoor environments, and the second guest to appear in my continuing series of conversations from my week in Minneapolis.

The former Commissioner for Minneapolis’ Parks & Open Spaces and current Senior Vice President of Equity, Outdoors & Nature for YMCA of the North, Anthony is—at 62 years old—the very model of anti-aging. A skier, paddler, accomplished ultra-cyclist and overall outdoors enthusiast, Anthony serves on the League of American Bicyclists Equity Advisory Board as well as the board of the National Brotherhood of Skiers. He is also the founder of the Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota and the co-founder of Cool Meets Cause, an outreach program that teaches girls from North Minneapolis to snowboard. And he served as the Adventure Director for the Loppet Foundation—a program that provides year-round outdoor activities for youth in Minneapolis.

This is a conversation about the nature of outdoor recreation to empower, enliven, and inspire.

It’s a walk through Anthony’s origin story. And it’s an exploration of his love of nature and his accomplishments as a cyclist and adventurer.

But the focus of this exchange is placed on Anthony’s important work as an activist and youth educator.

It’s a history lesson on race, class, privilege, and gender in the outdoors. And the many ways we can eradicate the invisible boundaries that exist in these spaces today.

Certain transformative lessons can only be learned through adventure—lessons imperative to youth development and deeper connection to our own innate humanity.

Put bluntly, outdoor sports and time spent in nature aren’t just recreation—they are human rights.

I guarantee this conversation will positively impact you in ways you may not expect. My hope is that it will help foster ways you can advance greater outdoor inclusivity within your community along the way.

To read more click here. You can also watch our exchange on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Special thanks to talented Minneapolis local photographers/videographers Bennie Wilson and Jordan Lundell for portraits & an upcoming video we are working on.

Anthony is the leader we all need now. And this conversation is definitely a fave.

Peace + Plants,

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Thanks to this week’s sponsors

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Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering and show notes; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics; portraits by Ali Rogers & Davy Greenberg; copywriting by Georgia Whaley; and theme music by Tyler Piatt. Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis. Special thanks to talented Minneapolis local photographers / videographers Bennie Wilson and Jordan Lundell for portraits & an upcoming video we are are working on.

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