Tiffany | Co-founder
My name is Tiffany and I started hiking five years ago as a new hobby to help cope with stress and depression. I completed my own personal 50 hike challenge in 2015, which was very rewarding for me. I found my park, pushed myself to new limits, and did things that I couldn’t imagine actually doing when I was younger like kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing, and climbing waterfalls.
When I was a kid I had a thirst for adventure and a desire to be in and learn more about nature. I was constantly shuffling between watching Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and PBS (and of course Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network), and it instilled within me a love and appreciation for animals and nature— even bugs, though I steer clear of them. However, coming from a black family, I was limited on doing a lot of the outdoorsy stuff that I always see white families doing, even to this day. I was always considered the ‘weird’ or ‘white-washed’ member of the family because of my love of animals and nature, along with my desire to do things like hike or swim. It was and still is a stereotype that black people don’t go outside, swim, or care for animals the way white people do. I thought something was wrong with me and tried for years to try and ‘acclimate’ to things that I felt were appropriate for me as a young black girl.
When I finally did start hiking, it helped me to re-affirm who I am today and validate my feelings about animals and nature. I still tune in to Netflix to watch nature documentaries! I love the outside world and I feel more people of color should too and shouldn’t be ashamed of it. That’s why I took to Instagram and started blackgirlstrekkin. Instagram showed me that there’s a whole world full of people of color who love many aspects of the outdoors. Be it hiking, climbing, surfing, snowboarding, skydiving or other outdoor activities, we’re making it known that we’re here and we’re just as connected to nature as everyone else. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing there are other people like me out there on the trails, knowing that I’m not alone.
When I first started hiking, I hardly ever saw people of color out on the trails. Even when I visited Yosemite National Park and met park ranger Shelton Johnson, he expressed that he didn’t see many Black people in the park. That conversation was the initial spark I needed to try and make a difference and to try and see if I could inspire people over Instagram or in person to get outdoors. It’s amazing to feel connected to nature. It gives me a drive and passion to pursue those things that I care about: preservation and protection of natural lands (and the animals that live there) while showing that representation DOES matter. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s why I made this group. Black women are strong, beautiful, independent, and wonderful and I want to show the world that we’re here and we matter. We’re here to empower other black women and people of color while connecting to the outdoors. We’re trekkin’ it!
Michelle | Co-founder
I’m Michelle and I’m a self-proclaimed nature nerd. I have a B.S. in Marine Biology from San Diego State University and a Masters in Biology from Miami University. My favorite outdoor activity is trying to identify plants/animals and anything that requires me to be on a boat. My passion for environmental science has given me the chance to explore deserts in Mexico, rain forests in India, and flooded forests in Guyana. But my favorite places to explore are the natural spaces at home in Southern California.
Growing up, I frequently heard that my interests and career choices were unusual for a black person. I was, and still am, often the only black woman in many educational or professional environmental spaces. These experiences fuel my passion for diversifying outdoor spaces and the field of environmental science, which is why I didn’t think twice about co-founding Black Girls Trekkin’. Through BGT I hope to create a safe space where black women can be their whole selves while exploring the outdoors.
When I’m not on an adventure with BGT, you can probably find me getting overly invested in a new hobby, scrolling through Netflix with my husband, and hanging out with my dog.
Intermediate/Advance Adventure & Hike Lead (Los Angeles)
Hi everyone! I’m Nicole and I’ve been passionate about the outdoors since my childhood days growing up in the desert outside of Joshua Tree National Park. I am a passionate solo traveler, hiker and adventurer who loves trying new things and getting my adrenaline pumping! I enjoy scuba diving (I’m certified), riding horses (English & Western), riding motorcycles, surfing, camping, snowboarding, rollerskating, mountain biking and practicing archery… you name it and I’ve probably done it! Being outside is my greatest joy.
I’m the CEO of Girls Fight Back, an international speaker and a full contact self-defense lead instructor with IMPACT Personal Safety. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from CSULB with a BA in Speech Communication, I have Wilderness Survival & First Aid training and I’ve hiked around the world. In 2019 I created the online series Outdoor Defense, which blends my love of the outdoors with my passion for teaching people how to protect themselves and stay safe with simple self-defense strategies.
I joined BGT because I want to help build a supportive community for black women to get outside and try whatever adventure or activity that excites them. Representation in the outdoors is essential and BGT provides a judgement free space for Black women to have new experiences and inspire each other. Together we’ll change the narrative about who belongs in the outdoors! I am grateful and humbled to be a part of the Black Girls Trekkin’ family and I look forward to seeing you on a “trek” soon!
Intermediate Adventure & Hike Lead (Orange County + San Diego)
My name is Jasmine, and I met Tiffany and Michelle on one of their first Black Girls Trekkin’ hikes. I had seen a photo from a friend’s Instagram feed with the group tagged in it, and the rest is history.
I have always been pretty active. As a kid, I enjoyed almost every extracurricular activity or sport out there, and I enjoyed the outdoors and playing out in the country. Nature was always my thing, but it wasn’t until later on in college when I fell in love with camping and hiking.
BGT definitely fulfilled my need to join a diverse and active hiking group that spreads positivity. It also has allowed me to meet so many amazing friends, learn exciting new things, and continue feeding my love of adventure and the outdoors.