Roland Richardson

Roles at NAAEE:

30 Under 30

Development Officer, Conservation
The National Recreation and Park Association

Roland developed a love of the outdoors at a young age while on camping and backpacking trips with the Boy Scouts of America. He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in 2006 and still considers it to be one of his proudest accomplishments. At 14, he became involved with the Student Conservation Association (SCA), working on trail construction and restoration projects in national parks across the country. After high school, Roland completed an AmeriCorps-SCA internship, where he worked on large-scale conservation projects in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts and educated local youth about the environment. This experience inspired him to pursue a career in the environmental field and, in 2012, he graduated from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington with a B.S. in Ecology. Today, Roland works for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) as Development Officer for Conservation Initiatives. In this role, he helps NRPA develop national programs that connect people to nature, encourage environmental stewardship, and engage communities in conservation practices.

Roland continues to sharpen his leadership skills by volunteering on a number of environmental committees and councils. He currently sits on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s (ATC) Next Generation Advisory Council, which supports the conservancy in its efforts to better engage a younger and more inclusive audience. He also serves on ATC’s Membership and Development Committee, bringing a youth perspective to the conservancy’s membership and fundraising activities. In 2017, he was selected as an ambassador for the National Park Foundation’s Summit Seekers program, an intergenerational outdoor leadership training program designed to foster inclusion and engagement of urban communities. Recently, he has become interested in environmental advocacy work. Earlier this year, he spoke at his first congressional briefing, joining the Outdoor Alliance for Kids (OAK) to advocate for the Every Kid In A Park federal program.

Born and raised in Washington D.C., Roland knows firsthand the challenges that individuals from urban communities face in connecting to nature. He believes strongly that the environmental movement must come together to develop a more inclusive approach to our country’s public lands. It is not enough to have equal access to public lands.  He believes the movement must have strategies for equitable access that take into consideration the unique barriers different communities face.  Drawing on his personal and professional experiences, Roland intends to help inform those strategies in the years ahead.