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October 1, 2019

Nadine van Niekerk, Shifting Gears
(360) 594-7321

Western Washington University and Shifting Gears Host Diversity Expert Dr. Nina Roberts

Western Washington University's Departments of Health & Human Development, and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies have partnered with Bellingham non-profit Shifting Gears to host Professor Dr. Nina Roberts of San Francisco State University for a free public discussion on issues, experiences and opportunities for womxn in outdoor recreation on October 16, 2019 in Bellingham, Washington.

The seminar will take place at Hillcrest Church in Historic Fairhaven District from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. to raise awareness of, identify critical areas for change, develop relationships which enhance, and build communities within outdoor recreation. It is open to the public, welcomes all ages and is free of cost due to the organizations’ desire to increase attention on the importance of the topic at hand.

“Visibility, inclusion, and support for womxn and womxn of color is essential; These communities have been long standing stewards of the environment, yet their knowledge and contributions have not always been fully seen or recognized,” says Vicki Hsueh, Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. “Enjoying and exploring the outdoors should be available to everyone, and when we limit access to outdoor opportunities and health solely based on race, gender, and sexuality, we all suffer.”

Both WWU departments and Shifting Gears are honored to feature Dr. Nina Roberts as the inaugural Womxn in the Outdoors guest speaker. A dynamic presenter, Dr. Roberts is Professor of the Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, and Faculty Director of Community Engaged Scholarship and Learning at San Francisco State University. Her talk, titled “Women Outdoors: Empowering Others, Creating Change, Making Progress“, is sure to leave an impression within the community based on her experience in education of race/ethnicity, culture and natural resources, as well as her commitment to social justice, equity & inclusion.

“We’re so excited for Nina’s visit because she is such an amazing speaker and advocate for women of color in adventure recreation, leadership, and outreach,” says Hsueh. “I think she’ll be able to open new conversations for our community in Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest in general to think differently and productively about changing constraints and barriers to the outdoors.”

The seminar invites dialogue that is critical, inclusive, and respectful. Because different views, voices, backgrounds, and experiences are welcomed, successful dialogue requires grace, empathy, and appreciation, ideally allowing everyone to achieve a better understanding. 

Representatives of local outdoor recreation organizations and businesses will also be present for questions and discussion. 

Ticket reservations are required for admission and are available on the Shifting Gears website or through the “Womxn in the Outdoors Seminar” Facebook event. Seating is limited and spots will go quickly. 

Western Washington University's Department of Health & Human Development educates individuals to improve personal and community wellness and quality of life through human movement, health, and leisure experiences. The department consists of four autonomous programs in Community Health, Kinesiology, Physical Education, and Recreation Management & Leadership. 

Western Washington University's Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies is committed to the project of social justice. They examine and challenge systems of oppression, inequality, and privilege from a variety of perspectives. The department’s program encourages theory and praxis that critically considers global and local communities in efforts to revise, re-envision, and reimagine social change.

Shifting Gears is a non-profit creating welcoming recreation experiences that encourage confidence, wellness, growth and joy. By participating in Shifting Gears programs, community members will challenge themselves in a supportive all-womxn’s environment that is judgement-free. 

For more information about each organization, visit their respective websites at:

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990

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