CSU grad publishes paper on LGBTQ+ inclusion in outside recreation

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By MoLund

When Mo Lundin completed her bachelor’s honors thesis two years ago, the Colorado State University graduate said they didn’t expect it to one day become the basis for an article in a scholarly journal.

So it was a pleasant surprise when Lundin, who received his bachelor’s degree from Warner College of Natural Resources in 2020, learned that Ecological Applications magazine has accepted her article, which focuses on making outdoor experiences more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community to design.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Lundin, who now lives in Alaska and works for an outdoor recreation company. “We only found out a few weeks ago that it had been accepted for release. It’s a bit different than my original thesis, but it’s really cool to get published.”

Lundin collaborated with assistant professor Sara Petrita Bombaci in the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology on the paper, which involved surveying outdoor recreation leaders to highlight practices currently being used to support LGBTQ+ inclusion and accessibility be used. A release date for the paper is in the works, Bombaci said.

The survey found that some outdoor organizations have taken steps to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion, including the use of gender-sensitive language, gender-neutral gear, gender-sensitive facilities and developing LGBTQ+ skills among leaders and attendees. However, the authors noted that the results were limited due to the small sample size, suggesting that many outdoor programs are not incorporating LGBTQ+ practices into their field experiences.

“The big benefit is that LGBTQ+ people should be included,” Lundin said. “It takes a lot of different things to do that, as well as some big cultural shifts.”

Regarding recommendations, the authors said that outdoor experience providers could further support LGBTQ+ inclusion by involving participants in the development of LGBTQ+-friendly community policies by considering how outdoor activities and fieldwork support LGBTQ+ Providing participants with specific challenges and by ensuring that medical workers are trained to use LGBTQ+ sensitive practices.

Lundin, who graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic, explained that her thesis and journal article would not have been possible without the support of Bombaci, as well as Ethan Billingsley, Human Dimensions Natural Resources Instructor, and Andy Nelson of the CSU Outdoor program .

Bombaci said it’s not very common for undergraduate students to publish a journal article in Natural Resources, especially if they’re publishing as first authors in Lundin’s case. She explained that Lundin was really thoughtful in developing an innovative research project.

“Mo’s passion for outdoor recreation and his work for the CSU Outdoor Program, which directs outdoor trips and clinics, including trips specifically geared towards LGBTQ+ students at CSU, gave them a valuable perspective for researching the LGBTQ+ inclusion in outdoor experiences,” said Bombaci. “Mo is an outdoor industry innovator and talented researcher and I’m excited to see where they go. I have no doubt they will continue to drive inclusion in the outdoor community and industry throughout their careers.”

While they were two years away from CSU, Lundin said experiences like the Outdoors program had a significant impact on her career as a hiking and backpacking guide. The CSU Outdoors program offers field trips, clinics, and events designed to provide students with the skills to experience outdoor recreational opportunities throughout Colorado.

“Working for the outdoors program and being part of Warner College is a great fit,” they said. “I love being outside and helping people experience the world around them. I’m so glad I was able to go to the CSU. It went really well.”