Call for Submissions!
Due Sunday, November 19, 2023
Please refer to our full submission guidelines for more information on submissions and accessibility
- Please send your submission and a 50-word biography to email@example.com by Sunday, November 19, 2023
- Acceptance emails/revision requests will be sent by April 7, 2023.
- If you have questions, please contact the journal’s advisor, Kyle Boggs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We are happy to help you work through your ideas too!
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 people who access them. 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.
- How has your experience in the outdoors improved your life? We’d love to hear your stories of connection, transformation, resilience, confidence, and what you learned about yourself by overcoming adversity.
- What can you teach those in our region about the wilderness spaces you love, what do you wish the broader public knew more about? This could be anything from a lesson in history, to ecological fragility, a keystone species, a change in environmental conditions, to simple lessons in trail etiquette.
- What narratives and mythologies have shaped your expectations and assumptions about the outdoors and how does that impact your experiences?
- What do you wish people would understand about your relationship with the outdoors?
- Gear is expensive. Transportation is often a barrier. What other challenges exist when it comes to helping people access the outdoors and what solutions might exist?
- What is outdoor education at its best, and what benefits does it have, from kids to experienced hikers?
- What is the role of community in fostering a greater sense of belonging in outdoor spaces?
- How have media and digital cultures shaped the way we experience the outdoors, and how we think about ourselves in those spaces?
As always, we welcome submissions from a range of genres, including nonfiction writing of all kinds, but also photography, video, podcasts, art, music, and creative and collaborative submissions that reflect the multitude of different ways into this topic.
Typically, representations of nature/nonhumans are used as cover art for each collection of the Writing for Change Journal. If you are a regional photographer and you have a photo that you think captures the tone of this collection’s theme, please consider submitting it. (Even outside of the cover art, photography of all kinds is welcomed submissions).