When we met Nick Brooks at a fly fishing clinic during the Outdoors for All conference in Old Fort, NC, we knew immediately that we had to get to know this guy better! Nick is doing amazing work in the southeast to get more people outdoors and camping who otherwise may have been timid about taking the leap. He has also taken a stand for indigenous people in the Arctic and collaborated with Black leaders in the outdoor industry on a film to uplift the lives of Black boys in green spaces and inspire more Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to get outdoors and go on adventures. For this month’s Coffee Talk, we interview Nick and learn more about what he’s doing in outdoor spaces, his favorite beer style, and his chance run-in with Senator Jon Ossoff.
How did a guy from the Atlanta metro area first fall in love with the outdoors?
My father is an Eagle Scout and he kept us active in the outdoors at a very early age. I do not remember the “firsts” of any of my outdoor experiences, we were just always outside. From family camping, canoeing, backpacking, fishing, biking, horseback riding, and even sailing.
Tell us a bit about your partnership with Crafted for Action and the overnight events you co-host with them and other brands.
Jen Price, the founder of Crafted for Action, and I met and became friends through the beer industry. She mentioned a desire to do more in the outdoors and we co-hosted some bottle-share hikes with some of the people in her circle. We discussed doing a camping-themed day party on an urban farm in Atlanta to get people who had never been camping interested in it. What surprised us was how many people wanted to stay the night in the tents we had used as decoration! This gave birth to us partnering together and hosting our first campout. We have partnered with some amazing outdoor brands and breweries that have similar beliefs and missions to diversify the outdoors and make the outdoors accessible to all.
What’s the most transformative experience you’ve witnessed at one of these overnights? Is there one happening again soon?
We had a participant who is a freelance writer attend Out Campout. In the article, she shared her experience at the campout stating, “I can’t say it enough, but representation matters. Through their actions and stories, the Brooks allowed me to put to rest those fears that kept me from camping. Because if they can do it, I can too. My time in the woods opened a door into a whole new world of exploration for me, and gave me the preparation and experience I needed to feel comfortable in the great outdoors.” This validated our passion to get people into the outdoors.
The trailer for Blackwaters looks incredible! What an amazing group to travel with. What was the experience like going to the Gates of the Arctic Circle National Park with these men and what was your takeaway from the expedition?
The Gates of the Arctic was so vast with massive views. It felt so wide open and exposed. It’s the most remote and least visited national park, and it is not easy to get to. We didn’t see a single person outside of our team while we were out there. We fished the Kobuk river and the sun never set! I’ll never forget sitting with some of the men on the trip talking past midnight and fishing when we would usually be sleeping. I value these men so much more, as we grew together as brothers out there in that wild space.
When will the film debut and where will people be able to watch it?
I’m excited to be a part of this project. I think everyone will walk away inspired from watching this short. First showing of the film will be on May 6th in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Premiere viewing will be on May 26th in Portland, Oregon. There will also be showings in Madison, Wisconsin, my hometown Atlanta, GA, and San Antonio, TX, Stephenville, TX. Make sure to follow www.blackwatersfilm.com for dates and additional places.
We’re also big Senator Ossoff fans! What was it like meeting him and being on the hill advocating for the protection of the Arctic Refuge with the First Alaska Wilderness League Activation Council of Love Is King Leaders?
Oh my gosh! Well, let me first give respect and in humility show gratitude to the Gwich’in of the Arctic Village for allowing us to come into their space as it had recently been closed to people who did not live in the area because of Covid. Being there, we were able to see firsthand and also learn about their concerns around the environmental impact that would happen through companies coming in and digging. Since DC is more accessible to us (the Arctic Village is also not an easy place to get to as you have to fly in on bush planes and can be very expensive), we partnered with the Alaska Wilderness League and Love Is King leaders to go and speak on the behalf of the Gwich’in to protect their land and the Porcupine Caribou herd.
As for Senator Ossoff, that was a highlight of the trip to DC. It was on my schedule to stop by his office to talk to his staff about the Arctic Refuge Protection Act. While the BIPOC Taskforce was standing in the hallway between meetings, Senator Ossoff came out into the hallway from a meeting. I got his attention and shared with him that I was from Atlanta. We stood and talked for a bit and even had the opportunity to take a picture with him. It was such a neat experience!
How long have you been into overlanding and what got you into it?
I have been Overlanding for about a year. I have a few friends that have been traveling in their rigs and sharing their experiences and it always seemed fascinating to me. My family and I got the opportunity to get our hands on a Toyota Tundra and partnered with a few brands to build it out and the rest is history!!
As you know, we live in Beer City USA (sorry ATL). What’s your favorite style of beer? Any craft brewery that is top of your list right now or a beer that is a must-have for every adventure?
I love a nice crisp Grisette or Farmhouse style ale. I love the crispness, low ABV, it’s easy to drink, and nice fruit flavors usually like pear and lemon. You don’t see that style often so I always like to try one when I see it at a brewery or out at a nice bar. For warmer weather trips, I like a nice lager and for colder trips, I lean all the way to stouts and porters!
What’s one book or podcast you’d recommend everyone consume?
Overland Journal Podcast with hosts Scott Brady and Matthew Scott. I got into this when I started building out my truck and overlanding since their topics are all about adventure and overlanding.
If you could meet anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why?
I would LOVE to meet John Lewis! I got to stand in his office while in DC. Currently, the office is for Congresswoman Nikema Williams. I’ve met him briefly before but I’d love to spend a day with him to see him serve, love selflessly, and inspire people.
Tell us something about yourself that we’d be surprised to learn.
I am the first born out of a set of triplets! Boom!!
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