Mission & Vision
The Rusty Anvil is an educational organization reconnecting marginalized communities to their place within the natural world through mindful wilderness trips and place-based skills while serving as a platform for cultural transformation.
We aim to build a supportive outdoor community through mindful wilderness trips and place-based skills that provide space for self-reflection and healing, intimacy with nature, and conscious environmental stewardship for people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and low-income families. Through both an Eco-psychological lens and a framework of forest bathing, The Rusty Anvil encourages marginalized folks to find both their authentic selves and their ability to be powerful environmental stewards of transformation. We encourage spaces that build a foundation of mindfulness and intimacy with both our inner and outer landscapes.
We seek to begin holding Rite of Passage Immersions that will empower participants to discover their authentic selves while spending 10 days in the back country. Through practices of mindfulness, wildlife study, outdoor skills, and share council we intend to provide opportunity for participants to experience the back country in ways that encourage a deep relationship to place, self reflection, connection to nature, and healing that drive a sense of identity and responsibility to their human and more-than-human communities.
We intend to open a community center that models alternative education, collaborative sustainable lifestyles, and environmental stewardship while providing space and opportunity for marginalized individuals to cultivate and experience healing relationships with their human and more-than-human communities. By creating a space that focuses on environmental and farm education, climate adaptive lifestyle changes, and connection to place as the core curriculum, we can model what a sustainable earth-human relationship looks like, and provide opportunity for others to heal their relationship with the natural world.
Our Philosophy & Values
The Rusty Anvil is a community based organization. These are the values that drive our work.
Finding Ourselves in Nature
As marginalized individuals we are constantly navigating social constructs that tell us who we are and what we are worth. Whether we believe these or not, it can be easy to internalize the messages that are imposed upon us. We are all searching for our authentic selves, our soul driven purpose, and our unique gifts, yet we search for them in false representation and materials items. In nature, our more-than-human community offers opportunity to find ourselves through symbolism and mirrors of the landscape. We find our true selves in nature because we are able to silence our mind, and contemplate our deepest selves. In nature there is no one to tell us who and how to be. The natural world provides space for us to find those answers for ourselves. In doing this, we build a relationship and sense of place in nature that is inherent in our identity.
Supportive Outdoor Community
Time in nature is proven to heal social, emotional, mental, and physical illness. In 1964 the environmental policy protected 9.1 million acres of wild space in an effort to provide the working man respite from his urban hustle. Through swift legislative movements exorbitant amounts of land became “protected” so individuals could experience the grandeur of the landscape to heal and find their truest selves.
Unfortunately, the same opportunities in nature did not (and still don’t) exist in the same way for marginalized individuals.
In W.E.B Du Bois essay "Of Beauty and Death" in his collection Darkwater, 1920, he explains the struggles faced by people of color when seeking access to the outdoors in a growing industrial economy and calls it the "Jim Crow waiting room".
Did you ever see a "Jim Crow " waiting room?... to buy a ticket is torture; you stand and stand and wait and wait until every white person at the other window is waited on. Then the tired agent yells across, because all the tickets and money are over there. "What d'ye want? What? Where?" The agent browbeats and contradicts you and hurries and confuses the ignorant, gives many persons the wrong change, compels some to purchase their tickets on the train at a higher price, and sends you and me out on the platform burning with indignation and hatred!" -Darkwater, 1920
Throughout history marginalized communities have been forced into experiences of pain, loss, or injustice in relation to the natural world. From our ancestral wounds to present day environmental procedures we find that marginalized communities have always fought at the intersection of environmental justice and civil rights. When we gather at the forefront of these movements it is important that we build a network of support in the fight for social justice, while simultaneously healing ancestral wounds related to our place in the natural world.
The Rusty Anvil intends to serve as an outdoor community space focused on reconnecting marginalized communities to the natural world through mindful wilderness trips, place-based skills, and rite of passage immersions.
Appreciation for Nature and Conscious Stewardship
For many generations environmental discourse and practice has minimized the natural world to an expendable resource, a recreational pastime, and a scenic backdrop. Typically we engage with the natural world with a destination mindset or for extractive purposes. This has allowed for centuries of natural resource extraction, depletion, and exploitation. Our current way of relating to place in nature has validated placing ourselves at the top of the ecosystem, and has perpetuated generational division and separation from the natural world.
When we re-frame the way we engage with the natural world we begin to develop an appreciation for the interconnectedness of all life on Earth, including ourselves. We no longer see ourselves as the apex predator and we realize that our quest for domination and control inevitably comes at the cost of our own freedom and well-being. This heightened awareness of our true place, our ancestral place, leads to a greater understanding of our role in the ecosystem. This will provide more genuine and substantial intentions behind environmental stewardship, policy, and practice.
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