Barriers to Nature Engagement for Youth of Color
Keywords:youth of color, parks, green space, environmental justice,, nature engagement
Nature engagement provides cognitive, physical, psychological, and social benefits. However, there are racially inequitable patterns of participation at nature sites, parks, and other green spaces in the U.S. Among youth of color (YOC), this nature deficit limits their ability to gain the same benefits of nature engagement as their white counterparts. To enhance understanding of the barriers to nature engagement by YOC, the present study examines intensive semi-structured interviews of local community leaders and leaders of nature-oriented organizations. Results reveal a complex matrix of external, socioeconomic, and psychological factors that limit YOC’s green access, particularly accessibility, fear, and social exclusion. Findings support existing literature, while providing additional dimension and nuance that expose larger implications and support the call for increased focus on racial and ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusion within nature engagement.