Diverse Perspectives of America Outdoors

Best-selling writer, podcaster and comedian Baratunde Thurston travels the country to better understand and explain people's complex relationship with the outdoors in a series on PBS.

1 minute read

October 3, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Clement Lau

View of wooded mountains with sunset in background in the Smoky Mountains.

SeanPavonePhoto / Adobe Stock

America Outdoors is one of a growing number of travel shows that aims to shift how we talk about nature and our relationship to it, and to change who we trust to tell us those stories.  In this engaging series, writer, podcaster and comedian Baratunde Thurston travels across America and offers insightful commentary about race, gender, ablelism, and other forms of difference to rightfully remind us that there is no singular experience of nature. From biologists saving snapping turtles to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) mountain bikers, Baratunde meets a fascinating cast of characters with one thing in common: a passion for being and enjoying the great outdoors.

In the first season of the show, Baratunde covered diverse places, including Appalachia, Death Valley, Idaho, Los Angeles, and Minnesota. The series is now in its second season, with episodes so far taking place in Arkansas, New Mexico, Oregon, and the Suwannee River. While we may have good quantitative data about visitors from reports like those published by the Outdoor Industry Association (see Who Is Enjoying the Great Outdoors?), America Outdoors offers rich qualitative data and effective storytelling that help to expand our understanding and perspective of the who, how, why, and where of those enjoying the outdoors.

For a preview of the second second of the series, please visit this link.

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