At 2nd annual outdoor festival, MOA celebrates and honors five leaders who are bold in making cultural change a personal and organizational priority
The Minority Outdoor Alliance is proud to announce the recipients of its Inclusion and Unity Awards, recently presented at its 2nd Annual MOA Fest: Rue Mapp, CEO and founder of Outdoor Afro (Trailblazer Honoree); Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership; Howard Vincent, CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever; Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation; and Kris Rockwell, trustee of the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation.
Fosburgh’s award was accepted on his behalf at the event by TRCP’s director of strategic partnerships, Jared Romero.
MOA co-founders Durrell and Ashley Smith created the Inclusion and Unity Awards to recognize and honor leaders who are bold in making culture change a personal and organizational priority.
“As a society, we are navigating uncharted waters as we create a more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive world,” says Ashley Smith, an attorney and the Minority Outdoor Alliance’s CEO. “This massive culture change will only work if it is modeled and implemented by emotionally intelligent leaders who champion the cause as not only a moral imperative but also as an essential skill set to solve the challenges of our times. It is fantastic that there is so much conversation regarding culture change, but we must begin to steer the ship from vision to action, and the leaders that we honored with these awards take up the responsibility to drive change through action and encourage their organizations to do the same.”
In the annual one-of-a-kind celebration, the Minority Outdoor Alliance welcomed all sportsmen and women to expose the joys of the sporting life to those unfamiliar with its activities. With over 3,200 acres of rolling hills, oak forests, and native grasses, ORVIS® Pursell Farms served as an incomparable venue for the weekend-long August event. Activities included a sporting clays competition, archery lessons presented by the Alabama Department of Natural Resources, wild game cooking demonstrations, fly fishing and casting clinics presented by Orvis instructors, law enforcement presentations by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource, a scholarship presentation of $10,000 in partnership with the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation, and much more.
The Minority Outdoor Alliance’s goal is to expand the narrative of the outdoors through education, engagement, and media. The organization also strives to form a multicultural community of lifelong outdoor enthusiasts, professionals, and conservationists. By engaging in policy work, facilitating signature DEI workshops across the nation, telling stories with authentic voices, and creating pipelines for minority advancement, the Minority Outdoor Alliance intends to expand representation in the outdoors.
Smith believes that the two most important issues of our zeitgeist are DEI and conservation. “We are living in one of the most momentous times in history,” she says. “It is no coincidence that conversations regarding DEI and conserving natural resources are at the forefront of collective conversation. At this point, we must release the energy of our past and step into a future where there is an appreciation of the worth of all living beings and an appreciation of the worth of our natural world. The Minority Outdoor Alliance is a service to the world that my husband and I love to provide, because it is a solution that enables us to unite members of different communities for the cause of conservation. It is imperative that every single human being understands the urgency of caring for our natural resources and that we all learn to work together to conserve as much of the natural world as we can so that it is here for our posterity.”
The Title Sponsor for MOA Fest 2022 was Eukanuba. The festival was also supported by Georgia Power, the Orvis Company, the S. Kent Rockwell Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Pheasants Forever, REI, Beretta, the National Wildlife Turkey Federation, YETI, Georgia River Network, and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. The Minority Outdoor Alliance is grateful to all of its sponsors who share the vision of creating a more inclusive outdoor community.