Call for Submissions! Conservation & Belonging in the Outdoors
Spending time in outdoor spaces brings us closer to ourselves and forges deeper connections to those places. This collection extends from decades of multi-disciplinary studies that confirm what we’ve always known in our hearts to be true: spending time outdoors makes us healthier and happier. Spending time in nature—from vast wilderness areas to neighborhood parks—has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, encourage active lifestyles, all of which increase life expectancy.
What we think of when we think of the outdoors in Idaho is often a fixed image in our minds, even though we know those spaces are constantly changing. Loss of habitat due to wildfire, erosion, water temperatures, plant diseases, invasive species and many more factors all work together in simple and complex ways to dramatically transform the places we know and love. When we become in tune with the natural spaces we love, when we come to know their rhythms and the way they change over time, we are more likely to advocate for their protection. How do we advocate for the ecological integrity of those places as the world continues to change and as more people access those spaces?
What we think of when we think of the outdoors are also ideas steeped in narrative, memory, and mythology. Those stories have shaped ideas of who belongs in those spaces and often curate our experiences there. To fully realize the gifts the natural world provides us, stepping into the outdoors must be something we can do easily and freely. We must feel comfortable in those spaces and we must feel welcome there. Nature has long been a source of peace in many people’s lives, but we do not all experience these spaces in the same way. The wilderness is full of diversity–from the variety of plants and animals to fungi and insects–yet these spaces often lack diversity among those on the ground. How have your experiences in the outdoors challenged expectations and assumptions about belonging, and how can we all work toward a more inclusive outdoors?
We invite a wide range of submissions from BSU and the greater Boise community that span conservation and belonging in the outdoors, how we change and are changed by the outdoor spaces we love. Below are a variety of questions as you consider what kind of contribution you would like to make to this collection.
The Writing for Change Journal is a multimodal publishing space, and therefore welcomes submissions beyond traditional written texts like essays and other forms of nonfiction writing like prose, interviews, and personal narratives, and can include photography, visual and performance art, podcasts, film, and combined mediums and those yet to be imagined. Creative and collaborative submissions are always welcomed. Look for our call-for-for-submissions twice annually.
A note on what we publish: Civility, dignity, and respect for all communities are the minimum. We select submissions for publication that we feel adhere to the collection’s theme and guidelines, and those written in good faith that attempt to make visible that which has been obscured, that meaningfully attempt to bridge understanding and community connection. In the spirit of rising above the narrow and divisive framings of local and national political discourse, this journal thrives on topics of change that recognize our shared humanity. Submissions that maintain ideologies or statements designed to make people feel unwelcome, unsafe, or lesser will not be tolerated and will immediately be rejected. We can and should examine such statements, through a critical framework of inquiry and empathy, but discriminatory language of any kind—based on race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, etc.—does not have any place in this journal.