21: Nature is for Everyone: Diversifying Nature-Based Practice Through Inclusion, Equity, Accessibility, & Representation with Mya Zavaleta

A nature-based practice that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion, that is accessible, and that is representative of all kinds of people and abilities—this is how to make sure that nature is available to everyone. 

In today’s episode, I’m talking with Mya Zavaleta about the importance of DEI (or IDEAR, as she refers to it) within nature-based practices, ways to increase social accessibility, being open and honest about being inclusive in your practice, and how to engage with communities of a socioeconomic status who might not be able to afford your services.

When it comes to IDEAR, one of the most important things you can do, especially as a white person, is truly listen to people in communities that are not your own. Take the time to understand their needs, their history, their desires. Taking small steps to help people feel like they belong in nature yields big rewards.

We’ll discuss:

  • What diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) means, why representation is important, and why Mya emphasizes inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA)
  • Considering social accessibility when it comes to nature-based therapy, and ways to introduce nature to kids who aren’t familiar it and get them comfortable in the environment 
  • The importance of land acknowledgment (honoring the land and the Native Americans who inhabited it) and inclusive images on your website if you desire to be more inclusive
  • Mya’s perspective on the difficulty of socioeconomic inclusion when running a cash-based business, and other ways that she engages with broader communities who are not her clients
  • Why Mya focuses on the resilient promoting aspect of her services
  • The importance of observing, listening, and asking questions as a white person working in communities of color and taking the time to build a relationship of trust

Connect with Mya:

Mya’s website

Follow Mya on Instagram

Resources from this episode:

The Nature Gap: Confronting Racial and Economic Disparities in the Destruction and Protection of Nature in America

Birding as a Therapeutic Tool for All Children with Freya McGregor

Children & Nature Network Research Digest: Inequitable Access to Nature—Awareness and Action

Resource for writing a land acknowledgment statement


If you're ready to take the next step in this adventure, join our free Therapy in the Great Outdoors Community at therapyinthegreatoutdoors.com. The TGO community is a private space just for nature based pediatric practitioners. We have loads of resources there to support you as you start or grow a nature based practice or program.

Download my free guide The Nature-Based Practice ROADMAP to help you focus (and avoid costly mistakes!) as you start or grow your nature-based pediatric therapy practice.

If you’re serious about taking your nature-based practice to the next level, come join the Business Bedrocks Group Coaching Program in The Business Hive. You'll get clarity & confidence to grow a profitable and personally fulfilling business that runs on auto-pilot as much as possible. 

Are you a pediatric therapist interested in taking your work with children out into nature? The ConTiGO Approach Online Course will open for registration soon: visit www.ConTiGOapproach.com to join the waitlist.