Inclusion and community are at the heart of Wilderness Inquiry’s mission. Over the past several years, we’ve worked to strengthen and deepen community partnerships to help deliver our programs and support those who face barriers to experiencing the outdoors.
This summer, we partnered with several organizations to provide meaningful outdoor adventures for members of the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing (DDBHH) community.
In August, we hosted our second annual American Sign Language (ASL) Day on the River. Families and friends of the DDBHH community were invited to adventure and paddle together on the Mississippi River and connect – or re-connect! – with one another and learn about the local landscape. Highlights from the day were captured by the National Park Foundation, whose support helped make the event a success.
This year, we also launched our affinity group travel program that provides safe, community-based outdoor experiences for specific populations. In July, our first DDBHH Boundary Waters trip ventured north for a four-day extended adventure led by two DDBHH leaders and with full access to sign language.
It’s very difficult for those who can’t hear to participate in hearing events. DDBHH Wilderness Inquiry trips provide an opportunity to spend time with others who communicate the same way. We all have something in common with not being able to hear and use ASL to talk with one another. It’s wonderful to spend time outdoors with others I can communicate with.” – DDBHH Affinity trip participant
To close the summer season out, we were incredibly honored to receive the Community Organization Award from Minnesota Deaf Queers at their gala in September. This award recognizes an organization that has gone above and beyond to support the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing LGBTQ+ community in Minnesota. We were thrilled to accept this award and look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure that the outdoors are a place where everyone belongs.
Wilderness Inquiry is proud to work alongside many local and national organizations to help bring these programs to life, including National Park Foundation, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Deaf Equity, Minnesota Deaf Queers, Minnesota DeafBlind Association, Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing, Minnesota State Services for the Blind, and others.
In the News
- BWCA is unforgettable, even when the only sound is silence – Star Tribune, July 23, 2022
- Sun Outdoors, NPF support ASL Day on the River – National Park Foundation, October 26, 2022