Tanya Marie Pender

CEO and President of Pathways to Parks
Horse Shoe, North Carolina

An outdoor enthusiast, Tanya Marie Pender is the CEO and President of Pathways to Parks, an outdoor adventure group focused on encouraging people of color to get outdoors and into local, state and national parks.

She is instrumental in developing partnerships and support with major entities such as the Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as land trust organizations, including Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Conserving Carolina.

"To help protect and conserve local, state, national parks, and all public lands; we are the voices to ensure their existence for generations to enjoy,” says Cummings. “Encouraging black and brown people, and people of all colors, to ‘take care’ and ‘ownership’ of these lands that belong to all of us - why not visit them?"

During her 37-year career with the federal government, Cummings held numerous positions. She retired as a Special Agent.

She is a board member of Mountain True, and a member of the National Audubon Society, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Conserving Carolina, North Carolina Arboretum, and Blue Ridge Bicycle Club.

Cummings studied piano at Cleveland Institute of Music, and majored in Administration of Justice at Whiting Business College and El Camino College.