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About Us

Honoring culture and exploring justice to unearth joy 

We believe that nature is more than a playground. It is an endless, boundless space that encourages discovery, invites exploration, and invokes curiosity.

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The outdoors are always open – and time should be the only qualifier to enter.

Unearthing Joy is on a mission to ensure that every family and community experiences the joy of nature in a way that is relevant to them. 

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Through the development of culturally-icentered, nature-based programming, Unearthing Joy enables families, community groups, and organizations to develop outdoor spaces into inclusive places.

Founded in 2020, Unearthing Joy has quickly emerged as a promising approach inspired by Indigenous, Black, and Other People of the Global Majority’s roles in nature throughout history.

Decades of experience in teaching, professorship, curriculum development, and leadership in education – coupled with time spent as outdoor guides and nature enthusiasts – informs our unique programming and development process. And our PhD-backed, nationally-recognized curriculum and coaching benefits thousands of families today. 

From immersive experiences and workshops to custom development, our programming is rooted in the discovery and exploration of the foundations set by our often historically-excluded ancestors. We believe their stories align us in shared experience, unite us in celebration, and open our minds and hearts to new learnings and experiences.

Our approach is inspired by nature itself: we are authentic, refreshing, engaging, – and inclusive. Because we believe that if more outdoor spaces evolved into inclusive places, joy would be unearthed in us all.

From our Founder

Joy. That’s what I felt was missing from our educational system during my time as a 1st-3rd grade teacher, early childhood professor, and family literacy program director. When it comes to our nature’s history, most lessons, courses, and experiences are taught from the white perspective, and the experiences of those who are Indigenous, Black, and Other People of the Global Majority too often go untold.

This is especially true in the classrooms, community groups, and learning environments centered around nature, environmental education, and outdoor recreation. And unfortunately this creates a disconnect for many people to those environments – which they often carry with them throughout their lives. For more on this, read an article I wrote which has continued to inspire my work today.

I founded Unearthing Joy to unearth those stories, uplift our ancestors and their contributions, and inspire joy for all of earth’s children, families, and communities. By marrying the beauty of nature, learning, and joy, I have seen hearts become full and eyes light up as children and adults discover new connections to our nature.

What started as an outdoor program for local families has quickly grown to include guidance to organizations creating nature programs for their own communities. There is untold history in every corner of our world, and Unearthing Joy brings those stories to life, while enabling them to be shared and celebrated.

I want families and communities, especially those who have been historically excluded, to find joy in nature as I have throughout my own life, and Unearthing Joy is determined to make that a reality.

Peace & Joy,
Ashley Brailsford, Ph.D., Founder

Ready to unearth joy in your community?

We provide and develop culturally-centered, nature-based programming for families and communities.

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