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12 African Americans who are greening the nation

By: Laura Moss on Feb. 2, 2011, 12:18 p.m.
Shelton Johsnon with Oprah and Gayle

Photo: The Oprah Winfrey Show/Harpo Studios

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Shelton Johnson

Johnson has worked in the National Park Service for more than 20 years and recently won the National Freeman Tilden Award for his work with black youth in Yosemite National Park. An expert on the history of America’s Buffalo Soldiers, Johnson has dedicated his work to helping minorities —particularly African Americans — connect to the natural world. He says that “one of the great losses to African culture from slavery was the loss of kinship with the earth.” In addition to working as a park ranger, Johnson also recently collaborated with Ken Burns to create the landmark documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” This recent episode of Oprah featured Johnson helping Winfrey (far left) and best friend Gayle King (center) go camping at Yosemite.