Durrell Smith walking away from the camera, wearing a red t-shirt with "1st Annual Minority Outdoor Aliance Festival" written on the back.

The Minority Outdoor Alliance

"Encouraging people from diverse walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, and cultures to make the outdoors an integral part of their lives."

2021 Breaking Barriers Award winners and founders of the Minority Outdoor Alliance (MOA), Ashley and Durrell Smith talk with Board Member and Orvis New York Fishing Manager Sav Sankaran about MOA and their event at Pursell Farms, August 26–28, 2022.

Durrell Smith with one of his dogs stand under a live oak tree

Durrell Smith

Durrell Smith is a Georgia native, visual artist, art teacher, bird-dog handler/trainer, and podcast host. While creating compelling abstract assemblage pieces or India ink and watercolor illustrations based on his field experiences and hunting dogs, he also runs a podcast called The Sporting Life Notebook (formerly The Gun Dog Notebook), along with his nonprofit, the Minority Outdoor Alliance, co-founded with his wife, Ashley. Durrell is the recipient of the 2021 Orvis Breaking Barriers Award, which honors individuals or organizations going above and beyond to bring new communities into fly fishing or wingshooting. As a first-generation hunter, Durrell seeks to learn with and contribute to the active outdoor community by connecting with sportsmen, sportswomen, and visionaries within the bird-dog community who are willing to share stories and knowledge about the discipline, creating a bridge to welcome those aspiring to join the bird-dog community.

Ashley Smith, sitting in a golf cart wearing a flannel shirt and jeans, kicking her feet up and laughing

Ashley Smith

Ashley Eady Smith is a bilingual tax attorney, thought leader, group cohesion expert, writer, and public speaker. Ashley is married to Durrell Smith, and they founded the Minority Outdoor Alliance together in the summer of 2020 in order to cultivate inclusivity for a healthier outside. Durrell and Ashley have a 3-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son.

Ashley completed her undergraduate education at the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and Spanish. After college, Ashley completed her law degree at Georgia State University College of Law. Ashley travels the nation on behalf of the MInority Outdoor Alliance facilitating The Path Forward (TPF), which is a highly regarded Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Organizational Cohesion program.

Ashley's approach with TPF provides a psychologically safe space for all people to participate in active, instinctual, and introspective ways. Ashley has facilitated TPF talks and workshops for state agencies, NGOs, and other outdoor and conservation organizations. Participants of The Path Forward often remark on how digestible, accessible, and applicable the knowledge framework of The Path Forward is.

Outside of her work as a tax attorney, Ashley seeks the outdoors as a place to renew and rejuvenate. Ashley likes to meditate, pray, and exercise outdoors. She also enjoys biking, hiking, and fishing.

Ashley believes that there is so much more that unites us as human beings than divides us and believes that being outdoors is the perfect setting for memory making, tradition keeping, and connecting with others.

Sav sitting on the tailgate of a truck in a red plaid shirt and smiling

Saravanan “Sav” Sankaran

Angler, upland hunter, professional musician, and first-generation American, Sav Sankaran was born into an Indian immigrant family in the Allegheny Mountains of rural, central Pennsylvania, where he perfected his angling skills on the state’s storied limestone trout streams. While Sav boasts extensive fly-fishing and fly-tying experience in both freshwater and saltwater environments, he’s also an avid upland hunter and loves the close-working flushing breeds of bird dogs like his Boykin Spaniel, Jeb. If you’re a bluegrass fan, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Unspoken Tradition, the band Sav tours with. Their album, Myths We Tell Our Young, debuted at #5 on the Billboard charts, and they've released several chart-topping singles, including two national #1 songs. And, like the expression goes, the hits just keep on coming, as Sav is also a founding member of Orvis's Justice Equity Diversity & Inclusion Committee, helping us as a company grow our efforts to make the outdoors and the outdoor industry more inclusive. Sav looks forward to helping aspiring and seasoned anglers as they travel along their fly-fishing journey.

Orvis Breaking Barriers Award.  Recognized for going above and beyond in making fly fishing accessible and inviting to others

Breaking Barriers Award

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Woman smiling while holding a fishing rod at a stream