Debbie’s hiking adventures started when she adopted Brownie from a local shelter. Brownie and her ten siblings had been rescued from an abandoned house in the middle of the winter. Shortly before she adopted Brownie, her father was diagnosed with cancer, and bringing Brownie into their family brought a lot of happiness. Debbie had always been active and had changed her diet to be vegan. Then a close family friend convinced her and Brownie to go for a hike. So getting into hiking and the outdoors was just the next logical step. Of course, to Debbie, the lack of diversity on the trails was apparent.
Debbie was quickly inspired to get other friends involved and she created the @blackpeoplewhohike account to encourage other BIPOC to get outside. Some of the things that Debbie focuses on include the reduction of stress, healthy food and physical activity to promote a better lifestyle, and the strength of community. In particular, Debbie spoke of forest bathing, a growing field of study that being in nature, and specifically in forested areas can improve our well-being. According to recent studies forest bathing can have positive affects on the body’s immune and central nervous system. To her, this is an important factor for at-risk black population and people of color who suffer from a disproportionate rate of common diseases and illness.
Some of the locations in and around the St. Louis area that Debbie and Brownie like to go to are Castlewood State Park, Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, Hawn State Park, and Weldon Spring Conservation Area which includes the Lewis and Clark Trail, part of the National Park Service. Castlewood State Park is where Debbie and Brownie took their very first hike together! Close by in Illinois are Pere Marquette State Park, Salt Lick Point Land and Water Reserve. For their @blackpeoplewhohike outings, Debbie relies on the AllTrails app to find new locations for each organized hike. Her golden ticket adventure would be to take Brownie to Gambia, where her family is originally from!
Debbie’s shout outs go to like minded organizations that promote BIPOC participation in the outdoors. Among them are Outdoor Afro @outdoorafro, Melanin Basecamp @melaninbasecamp, #blackhikersweek co-founders Nailah @wecoloroutside and Zenovia @blackkidsadventures, @blackmenhikela, and @blackgirlshike_la. Don’t forget to sign up at blackpeoplewhohike.com to find out about future events.
For information on heat stress and heat stroke in dogs, I found several sources with great details: Humane Society: Keep Pets Safe in the Heat
And dogs in archeology at Independent.co.uk: Indiana Bones: The archaeologist dogs discovering ancient remains
Thanks for listening!