View of Earth and moon from orbit

Acknowledging the Land & People Where I Live…

I’m Dan Gardoqui (he-him) and I live with my family near the Maine seacoast – lands that have been inhabited by indigenous people for well over 12,000 years. Specifically, this land is the traditional territory of the Accominta People of the Penacook Tribe of the Wabanaki Confederacy – at least, that’s what I’ve learned – but much indigenous history has been altered, erased and whitewashed, so please forgive me if inaccurate. I’m always open to learning more.

Wabanaki peoples have stewarded this land for countless generations and continue to live here today, despite centuries of the devastating cultural and individual effects of colonization. I affirm their inherent sovereignty in this territory, support their efforts for land and water protection and restoration and for cultural healing and recovery. In addition to acknowledging this important history, I’m also committed to learning to be a helpful ally of the indigenous people of this place. To learn and support Wabanaki health, wellness & self-determination, please support:

Feather by Sierra Henries (copyright)

Additionally, this land has also been inhabited by millions of unique, non-human beings as well. Those species are critical to the health & well-being of the land and waters and deserve our attention, understanding (as best we can) and respect. All that said, I only know how to live in relationship with the more-than-human-world in my particular way and I’m not trying to judge or value the ways of others.

Acknowledging Racial & Economic Disparity with Regard to Nature Access & Benefits

Unfortunately, access to nature isn’t equitable. Despite nature being touted as the “Great Equalizer,” the myriad of benefits that time in nature provides humans are often inaccessible to people of color, those with children and people living in low-income communities. This is sometimes referred to as the “NatureGap.” Growing up a white, middle-class child in the New Jersey suburbs, I had free access to many green spaces, town parks, county parks and much more. I was unaware of this privilege until I went off to college in a small, diverse city where I could see the disparity first-hand.

Additionally, even when able to access nature spaces, BIPOC communities don’t always feel safe, included or at home in these spaces. While progress is being made, we have much work to do before we can honestly say that nature spaces are fully-accessible, truly diverse and welcoming to all.

When you work with me, you support the following values:

  • INCLUSION. I’m do my best to make all feel welcome at Lead with Nature.
  • CURIOUSITY. A sense of wonder and an open mind make space for change in our lives, our businesses and our communities. Curiosity is the currency for connection.
  • CONNECTIONS. Our connections to other people, other species and to specific places are what make us all unique. These connections result in diversity and strength.
  • EQUITY & ACCESS. All people deserve access to nature and all its benefits. When possible, I offer a variety of fee levels to make programs more accessible.
  • CONSERVATION. As keystone species on planet earth, humanity has a responsibility to tend and caretaker to the earth’s resources to ensure a rich future for generations to come.
  • RECIPROCITY. Lead with Nature works to support the protection and restoration of vulnerable human & wildlife communities.
Sunrise in the Nj Pine Barrens by Dan Gardoqui
The New Jersey Pinelands. Our nation’s first National Reserve came about because of hard-working, passionate people. Learn more here.

Annual Giveback from Lead with Nature…

As a business owner, it’s important to me that I redirect a percentage of annual profits to organizations, efforts or people doing critical work in the world. Therefore, each year, I’m selecting an amazing organization to receive financial and other support.

2022 Hunters of Color. Our mission is to create accessible, equitable opportunities for Black, Indigenous, and All People of Color (BIPOC) in conservation and hunting by dismantling barriers to entry through educational opportunities, mentorship, and providing educational resources.

2021 First Light Learning Journey. First Light is a bridge between conservation organizations and Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Micmac Communities who seek to expand Wabanaki access and relationship to land.

2020 – Backyard Basecamp – an amazing nonprofit Inspiring Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color (BIPOC) across Baltimore City to find nature where they are and empowering them to explore further.

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