Dr. Nina Roberts is an outdoors woman who has hiked and camped in national parks, forests and wildlife refuges from coast to coast for close to 30 years. The depth of her engagement with our natural resources is matched only by her immersion in the management, policies and social trends affecting the public lands. As a woman with a bi-racial heritage who is passionate about the outdoors, Dr. Roberts specializes in experiential learning, and is a model of the behavior you want to promote.
A native New Yorker, Dr. Roberts grew up with multiculturalism as part of her DNA. The second oldest of four, her parents were interracially married in the 1950s when such acts of love were illegal in many states across the country. Dr. Roberts takes great pride in her unique ethnic mix (White/U.K., East Indian, and West Indian/St. Lucia) and has traveled coast-to-coast speaking about cultural diversity in relation to parks and protected areas.
Dr. Roberts fell in love with the outdoors as a teenager and made her work a lifetime practice of immersion. She has served as program director, adventure guide and park manager. Besides visiting more than 200 units of the National Park System, she has spent time in the back country in scores of forests and explored many wildlife refuges.
Associate professor in the Department of Recreation, Parks, & Tourism at San Francisco State University, Dr. Roberts is a Fulbright Scholar and experiential educator whose cultural research has been vital to both public land managers and community partners. She is a leader in the movement to connect urban-based communities with their parks and other public lands.
Dr. Roberts is renowned in her field, her enthusiasm and advanced knowledge of public lands being highly regarded in communities of color, in the academic and non-profit sectors, and among policymakers.
Her areas of focus and training include: Understanding demographic shifts and population trends; Positive Youth Development (including urban youth, single-gender programs/girls outdoors); Community engagement and outreach strategies for reaching new audiences; Recruitment and retention of diverse employees and Cultural competency training and staff development.
Dr. Roberts has received more than a score of distinguished awards such as Servant Leader; Master Practitioner; Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarship; and academic notoriety at SF State including the Environmental Studies Program Faculty Award; and nomination for the Faculty Community Service Learning Award.
Her perspectives on diversity, national parks and the use of public lands have been widely shared on CNN.com, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, NBC News Bay Area, New America Media, The New York Times, and Public Radio International. She has also interviewed with WildeBeat (the audio journal about wilderness), and The Allegheny Front environmental radio for western PA about “Welcoming Minorities to State Parks.” She is featured in the landmark book Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places and is well published, including numerous journal articles and book chapters about social and environmental justice, women/girls outdoors, youth leadership, and her multiracial identity.