Never an organization to rest on its laurels, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is always looking to bring new energy and ideas to the work we do - to reinvigorate our mission and keep it relevant in a changing world.
One of the ways we do that is by keeping our volunteer Board of Directors fresh, injecting the skills and perspectives of new people on a regular basis and broadening the professions, regions and backgrounds we tap into.
So when our board all flew into Washington, D.C. the week before last for one of its tri-annual meetings, it was great to welcome a couple of new faces.
Mike Cannon comes to us from the outdoor recreation mecca that is REI's company headquarters in Seattle. Mike is the VP of Merchandising at REI, which has been an integral part of the continued boom in outdoor recreation in America in recent times.
As RTC continues to grow from its humble roots almost 30 years ago at the birth of the rail-trail movement to now overseeing a critical and significant shift in how we, as a nation, move, play and develop, we look forward to tapping into Mike's corporate nous and understanding of what inspires people to lead active lives.
We also recently welcomed another new board member from the West Coast, Rue Mapp (right). As a youngster, Rue split her time between urban Oakland, Calif., and her families' working ranch in the Northern woodlands. It was here she cultivated a passion for wilderness, open spaces, and interacting with and learning about the natural world.
However as she grew older and her passion for the outdoors grew, Rue became troubled by the fact that she saw relatively few fellow African Americans out there with her, being active and reaping the many benefits of enjoying nature.
So in 2009 she started the (excellently named) Outdoor Afro, which now uses social media and energetic engagement to encourage people of color to connect to the natural world through fun and relevant outdoor experiences. It's exactly the kind of new approach to connecting with people we hope to bring to RTC.
So, welcome aboard Rue and Mike. And we'd like to welcome you, too, to the ever-expanding RTC family. Connect with us today, say hello, get the t-shirt or just explore trails near you at www.railstotrails.org/getInvolved, or www.facebook.com/railstotrails.