Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space recently named Romy Toussaint its Force of Nature for 2019.
Toussaint gives back to the community and positively influences local conservation initiatives by leading forest hikes, stepping up on Global Connections work and participating in the Mercer County Environmental Equity and Inclusiveness Partnership.
“I like working with FoHVOS because their mission is very much in alignment with my mission and purpose in life which is: to empower those around me to create a complete practice of consciously leading their lives; to manage their energy and become physically strong, to connect to their minds, strengthen their spirit, and to show up as their best self,” she said. “One of the ways that I do this is to take people out into nature where they can unplug, unwind, and connect to the elements which help them connect themselves.”
Toussaint shared why she joined a Mercer County group that collaborates on diversity and environmental justice initiatives. “I often wondered why there weren’t more people like me hiking and playing in nature,” she said. “I have spent time thinking about this and researching why there are not more people of color out on the trails. There are many reasons why it’s difficult for this segment of the population like: free time, resources, transportation, and access to open space. There are historical and cultural issues that can get in the way. I want to be involved in finding ways to make the outdoors more accessible to all beings and to help them enjoy God’s playground.”
Toussaint has been hiking Baldpate Mountain for about 20 years. When her four grown sons were younger, she had a goal to take them to a different park or playground whenever they went out to play. She has a goal to be a 46er and to hike the 46 High Peaks (+4000 feet) of New York’s Adirondacks.