Championing Inclusivity Through Content: Q&A with REI’s Chelsea Davis

Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv


REI has been on a roll in recent years using entertaining and informational content to reflect its values of inclusivity in the outdoors. Their latest addition to that content comes in audio form with a podcast created in partnership with Subaru and the National Park Foundation.


“Hello, Nature” looks at the wonder of America's National Parks from an often-unexplored perspective. Pakistani-American host Misha Euceph didn’t know about the National Parks until she turned 21. But after an experience in Joshua Tree and watching 12 hours of Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Best Idea, she set out on a road trip (in a Subaru Outback) to answer the question: if the Parks are public, aren’t they supposed to be for everyone? Hello, Nature seeks to invite voices of color into the conversation about exploring and spending time in the great outdoors and aims to reassure those that do that they’re not alone.


Brand Storytelling caught up with Senior Program Manager and Content Strategist at REI Chelsea Davis to learn more about what it took to bring Hello, Nature to life and why a podcast like this one is important for the moment in which we’re currently living:


REI has become one of the most, if not the most, vocal outdoor recreation companies to advocate for diversity and inclusion in natural spaces. When did the company start voicing those values publicly and why?


REI believes the outdoors is for everyone, and that as a co-op and outdoor industry leader, must do better in making sure that everyone feels welcome, and excited about spending time outside. It’s not a secret that what’s traditionally thought of and promoted as outdoors has been predominantly white (according to a report from the National Park Service, over 90% of national parks visitors are white) so, there’s not only work to do to in creating more opportunities and access to these places but there’s also work to do in how we define the outdoors. It doesn’t have to be backcountry camping and summiting mountains – there are amazing outdoor places in urban spaces, city parks, etc. that we’ve failed in the past to recognize and celebrate.