Been Outside edited by Shaz Zamore and Amber Wendler

Been Outside book cover

Rating: 4/5

What It’s About:

Encompassing identity, inspiration, ancestry, and stewardship, the essays and poems by leading Black women and nonbinary scientists in Been Outside explore how experiences in the natural world and life sciences shape the self. These writers and researchers contemplate the moments that sparked their love of nature, as well as the ways time in the field and outdoor adventures have enhanced or expanded their perspectives about what is possible.

Mountaineers Books

Thank you to Mountaineers Books and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book released on October 1, 2023.

The Review

The best part of Been Outside is that it provides an insight into the relationships that Black people have with nature and their experiences working in STEM fields. People of color are and women are severely underrepresented in this realm. As Latina, I was very excited to read this book and see women of color and hear their stories. I learned so much about the the discrimination, barriers, and misconceptions that Black women face while being out in nature.

Another meaningful aspect of Been Outside was the real life examples of internships, projects, experiments, and areas of study. I was amazed by the variety of ways that nature can be studied and the career opportunities for those interested in working outside with nature. Any person interested in these types of careers would find value in reading about the authors’ experiences and insight.

The last thing that I enjoyed about this book was the variety of voices and writing styles. Each author had their own way of telling their story. Readers will enjoy a mix of essays, short stories, and even poems. There was also advice shared for allies on how to help support and make the outdoors a safer space for Black people to enjoy and study. Been Outside has open my eyes to consider the experience of being out in nature in a new way. Now I am encouraged to think about the accessibility of nature for others that also face barriers.

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought!

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