There’s a reason that the outdoors are commonly prefaced with ‘great’: there’s nothing more fulfilling than trekking your way through thick thickets, piney woodland and the odd magma pool of mud.
The last year, though, has not only seen us all ramble about rambling, but also reassess how inclusive our areas of natural beauty are. Flock Together – a Black, Brown and POC birdwatching collective – have been at the forefront of this new movement, upping access for those who have felt unwelcome in our green spaces.
Now, they’ve teamed up with Timberland, continuing the brand’s mission of regreening our cities and orienting themselves towards more sustainable practices. The result is a new short film titled ‘Your Stage’, introducing spoken words artists Anu Balofin, Ade Oyejobi and Jayda David via gorgeously cadenced odes to nature. Set in London’s Trent Park, it’s a few minutes of tranquil, verdant scenery to let you reset and rethink how you see outdoor spaces.
It’s also backed by a new zine curated with Flock Together, featuring the birds you can spot in local green spaces and a short wildflower guide for budding flora enthusiasts. For Flock Together founder Ollie Olanipekun, the project is a chance to challenge the barriers POC face when looking to explore nature. ‘Nature is a universal resource and for too long Black, Brown and other POC have felt unwelcome and marginalised in spaces that should be open to everyone,’ he says in a statement. ‘At Flock Together, our focus is on supporting our community and challenging existing preconceptions that are a barrier to POC experiencing nature’s benefits. ‘Your Stage’, will provide a new take on the natural experience and a new route to enjoying the outdoors.’
Even without lived experience, it’s clear for anyone who’s visited a Middle England national park that the UK’s green spaces feel far from inclusive. It’s why we need to all rally behind what Flock Together are doing – and at the same time – finally discover what the heck that bird that wakes up every morning actually is.
Watch the film now below and download the zine here, ready to read somewhere leafy.