Lecture to examine how 'Nature Matters for Black Lives'

Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of Health and Human Development's Dean's Lecture Series will continue exploring the impact of structural racism on human health, development and well-being.

The next lecture in this iteration of the Dean’s Lecture Series, "The Impact of Structural Racism and Racial Discrimination on Health, Wellness and Well-Being," will feature a presentation by Myron Floyd, dean of the College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University.

The talk, “Nature Matters for Black Lives: Disrupting Narratives about Race and Place,” will be presented at 4 p.m. on Feb. 18 via Zoom and followed by a question-and-answer session with Floyd.

About the Talk

Nature supports human health and well-being in numerous ways, including through outdoor recreation experiences. Troublingly, access to parks, public greenspace, and other natural recreation environments is often constrained for Black Americans and other communities of color. This means that the benefits of contact with nature are not fully realized by all people.

In the lecture, Floyd will draw attention to the different ways Black Americans have been represented in the research literature on race and outdoor leisure. He will highlight how dominant narratives influence the way that research questions and policy responses are framed. He also will present counter narratives that disrupt and challenge whiteness in outdoor leisure settings. These counter narratives invite timely discussions around our conceptualizations of nature and outdoor leisure experiences with implications for public lands management and human health and well-being.

The question-and-answer session will be moderated by Craig J. Newschaffer, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development, host of the series.

Participants are invited to join the live events and encouraged to participate in the question-and-answer sessions. All lectures will be recorded and available for viewing at a later date.

About Myron Floyd


Myron Floyd Credit: suppliedAll Rights Reserved.

Floyd is widely recognized as a leading scholar focused on understanding race and ethnic patterns in outdoor recreation behavior. His most recent research examines how public parks and green spaces and other features of the built environment contribute to physical activity in low-income communities of color. He is co-author of "Race, Ethnicity, and Leisure: Perspectives on Research, Theory and Practice from Human Kinetics." He is the author of 95 peer-reviewed journal articles, 22 peer-reviewed monographs and proceedings papers, 18 book chapters, and more than 100 presentation papers and abstracts.

In 2008, Floyd was awarded the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Award, the highest award for research excellence from the National Recreation and Park Association. He is an elected fellow of the Academy of Leisure Sciences and the American Academy of Park and Recreation Administration.

About the Dean’s Lecture Series

Launched in spring 2020, the Dean’s Lecture Series features nationally recognized researchers who share their work and commentary on important issues of the day to catalyze conversation, new thinking, and advancement of scholarship.

Additional information, future lectures and recordings of previous lectures can be found at

Last Updated April 15, 2021