Outdoorsman brings shades of color to natural spaces

By Ryan Ward | December 28, 2022


The outdoors is painted in beautiful colors that change with the seasons and beckon for people to explore it. Christopher Kilgour has always loved spending his time outdoors, “Even as a kid, I loved sharing that experience with people. So, I always invite my friends to come to wherever we were going, and we’d go hiking or camping or whatever the adventure was that day or that week.”

Kilgour’s adventure in nature hasn’t always been as colorful as he would like however, “As a person of color, walking into various places and spaces, there was that palpable feeling or that palpable vibe, if you will, of being the other in the room.” He has worked hard to make sure that these experiences are not the only experiences for marginalized communities in outdoor spaces.

In doing so, he founded Colors in the Outdoors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion of traditionally marginalized communities within outdoor spaces. The organization holds yearly events aimed at educating people about the environment while creating safe spaces for all to enjoy.

“It’s a calming space. It’s a space that can be a place that you’re always learning. You can go outside and stand in the same place every day and see something new in the outdoor world,” Kilgour said. For Kilgour, it is important to bring as many new people into these spaces as possible, “the more people we have realize the importance of preserving these spaces, then they also realize that they automatically have an investment. We all do, in taking care of these spaces, not only for themselves, but for others and for the next generations.”

There are many shades to Kilgour’s love of nature. He believes that sharing nature goes beyond preservation and believes that spending time outside is more than just a pastime. “I’m also just thankful. I think that outdoor spaces are such an amazingly therapeutic thing that I really do feel fortunate to be able to spend time outside. And I think that another thing that we lose track of is that moment of just pause and being able to acknowledge the fact that here we are on this planet.”

Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward

Ryan Ward is a producer for the “Wisconsin Life” project and can rest easy after he finally found the perfect jar of homemade dill pickles at the farmer’s market in Madison. … just like his Grandma Shirley use to make!

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