We never imagined 2020 would play out the way it has, but aren’t we lucky to still be alive? Our dream is still very much alive, too. In the meantime, please call your parents or grandparents and plant seeds of hope. Imagine the day in the not-too-distant future when you can open the passenger seat, invite your family to join you, and head out to see the redwoods and prairies.
One of the most beautiful things about national parks is the shared sense of inclusion and acceptance we all feel in these unified spaces, regardless of where we come from, what our abilities are, what we look like, or who we love.
National parks are havens that welcome and celebrate diversity, and that’s what we strive to showcase with Hello Ranger, with the help of Diversity Ambassadors who can speak to a wide range of topics and how they relate to national parks travel, as well as provide helpful guides, ideas, and stories that are sure to encourage ALL of us to get out and explore. Our Diversity Ambassadors cover the following topics: Native American, Race & Ethnicity, Age & Ability, Adaptive Disability, Invisible Disability, Gender Identity & Expression, and LGBTQ+. A key tenet of the Hello Ranger Community is doing whatever it takes to ensure everyone feels included, supported, and celebrated.
Start your journey by following along with one of our guides:
Native American Ambassador
Home Base: Arizona
Yá’át’ééh! I’m Angel Tadytin, a Native American woman from the Navajo Tribe in Arizona. I am Many Goat born for the Coyote Pass People, my maternal grandfather’s clan is Bitterwater, and my paternal grandfather’s clan is Towering House. I look forward to sharing my culture, connection to the land, and thoughts with you as we seek the outdoors together.
Race & Ethnicity Ambassador
Home Base: Florida
Hello there! I’m Lauren, and I’m the creator of The Misadventures of an Outdoorsy Diva blog and the Outdoorsy Diva podcast. I’m happy to bring you a unique perspective on all things adventure, travel, and being outdoors as a black millennial woman. Here at Hello Ranger, I will share content that highlights the importance of racial and ethnic diversity in the outdoor and adventure travel space, and how we can achieve that goal together.
Age & Ability Ambassador
Grandma Joy & Brad
Home Base: Duncan Falls, Ohio
Hello, my name is Brad Ryan, the founder of Grandma Joy’s Road Trip. After learning my octogenarian grandmother had never seen a mountain or an ocean, I began traveling with her to all the U.S. national parks. Four years later, Grandma Joy is now 90-years-old, and we have made up for lost time having checked 53/62 national parks off our bucket list. And we’re still going! We share our journey on social media to promote a dual message of the value of intergenerational travel and environmental stewardship. You can read more about our abilities here.
Adaptive Disability Ambassador
Home Base: Salt Lake City, Utah
Hello, I’m Matthew Tilford, and I didn’t lose my hunger for adventure over a decade ago when I had sustained a life-changing spinal cord injury. Being outdoors has been a huge part of my healing process. Being a wheelchair-user, I have learned to adapt and to be creative in order to fulfill my outdoor passions. I’m excited to share skills and techniques as an adaptive adventure guide at the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah. I also work at REI, preparing others for their own adventures. Follow my journey by clicking the link below!
Invisible Disability Ambassador
Syren Nagakyrie (They/Them, She/Her)
Home Base: Washington State
Hello there! I’m Syren, the founder of Disabled Hikers, a community by disabled people for disabled people and allies. I have multiple invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses, and have found solace in nature since childhood. I share stories of connection and belonging for people with disabilities while advocating for access and inclusion in the outdoors. Join us on our journey by reading the articles below or following us on social media.
Gender Identity & Expression Ambassadors
Max & Jaye (They/Them)
Home Base: Monterey, California
Hello there! We’re Max and Jaye, an engaged non-binary couple living on the West Coast. We are avid backpackers, hikers, and animal lovers who are currently section hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and Tahoe Rim Trail. We take one trip a month exploring the country, and are saving up for an RV to travel in full-time starting in 2021!
Dusty Ballard & Mike Ryan (he/him/his)
Home Base: New Jersey
Hello, we’re Dustin Ballard and Michael Ryan, friends, co-hosts and co-creators of Gaze at the National Parks, the Podcast: a show that features one hiking trail in one National Park, one Park at a time.
Dustin was born and raised in Mississippi before moving to New Jersey where he studied Theatre Performance and was the 2009 Region II Winner of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. An accomplished actor, playwright, and teaching artist, Dustin specializes in devised work, specifically new musical theatre. He is an avid traveler, a staunch Capricorn, and his favorite movies are Clue and Erin Brockovich. His favorite hike in a national park is the Sliding Sands Trail in Haleakala National Park on Maui, Hawaii.
Mike was born and raised in New Jersey. He took a few years off from the Garden State to attend school at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A middle school art teacher, Michael loves to work with his hands, whether it’s in clay, watercolor, or while crafting new pieces of furniture for his home. Michael is an avid traveler, who as a Libra, tends to hem and haw anxiously over decisions. His desert island go to’s would include peanut butter, 30 Rock, and East of Eden. His favorite hike in a national park is the Devil’s Garden in Arches National Park.
Together, as best friends, we are thrilled to be your LGBTQ+ Ambassadors for Hello Ranger!