The City of Malden in collaboration with First Seed Sown are excited to announce the launch of The Great Malden Outdoors, an outdoor enablement campaign designed to make outdoor recreation accessible and equitable for all Maldonians. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever spent time outdoors, but not all Malden residents were aware that activities like rock climbing, hiking and bird watching exist within city limits. In fact, many of Malden’s beautiful outdoor spaces are enjoyed by residents of neighboring towns and states rather than the local community.
The Great Malden Outdoors aims to create awareness through an advertising campaign and website featuring local Malden residents enjoying the outdoors within the city limits – photographed by National Geographic Photographer Irene Yee. Created by the Malden-based marketing agency First Seed Sown, the campaign will also showcase where to go within the city to access the outdoor spaces, the skills recommended, community and activity groups to go with, professionals to hire to guide folks, and local retail partners for acquiring outdoor gear or taking skills-building classes.
“In Malden, we’re fortunate to have access to the beautiful trails of the Middlesex Fells Reservation, Waitt’s Mount, and much more,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “We look forward to The Great Malden Outdoors promoting activities and programs that will inspire residents to spend more time outdoors and take advantage of all that Malden has to offer.”
Malden is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – with more than 70 languages spoken – and 56% of the city’s residents are Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC), which puts the majority of residents into what the member-based collective Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) calls “The Adventure Gap.” The Adventure Gap refers to the difference between the percentage of an ethnic group’s participation in outdoor recreation nationally compared to its percentage of the U.S. population. For example, Hispanic/Latinx folks make up about 19% of the U.S. population and, according to OIA’s Annual Participation Report, only make up about 11% of people who recreate outside, meaning their “Adventure Gap” is 8%. The long-term goal of The Great Malden Outdoors is not to reduce any single group’s participation but rather reduce the “Adventure Gap” for all groups by increasing the number of overall people recreating outside.
“As someone who grew up in the Greater Boston area, I had no idea activities like rock climbing or bird watching even existed in my neighborhood. It wasn’t until I landed my first office job with an outdoor gear company in West Concord that I was exposed to these activities and began to enjoy them regularly. The goal with creating these outdoor enablement campaigns for cities is to get more residents outside and enjoying the outdoors, reducing the Adventure Gap, and creating more stewards for these wonderful natural public spaces,” said Founder/CEO of First Seed Sown Sales and Marketing Darren Josey.
First Seed Sown will work directly with community groups throughout the city to understand what barriers to enjoying the great outdoors their members have. First Seed Sown will deliver a report to city officials and take action to understand, reduce and/or remove physical barriers to outdoor recreation, such as the lack of a crosswalk leading to a trailhead, trail signs only available in English and communal barriers to entry.
Lastly, The Great Malden Outdoors has a youth development aspect. By working with the City of Malden’s Career Services Program Coordinator, select Malden High School students will work alongside paid professionals on all aspects of the campaign with the goal of exposing them to outdoor recreation opportunities within the city and building resume pieces to kickstart a potential career in the outdoor industry in New England or beyond.
The Great Malden Outdoors kicks off in mid-September of 2023 with a photoshoot and the advertising campaign and website going live in May of 2024. For more information about The Great Malden Outdoors, please visit https://www.firstseedsown.com/municipalities. For more information about potential sponsorship opportunities or media inquiries, please contact Darren Josey at DJ@FirstSeedSown.com.