Conservation is crucial but not sufficient for ensuring that all people have the opportunity to prosper in healthy communities. What intersection does conservation have with the pervasive, tangled problems brought on by slavery, Jim Crow, and the public policies and norms that disproportionately harm people of color to this day?

The creation of a more just society cannot be assigned as a task to specialists in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice matters. It cannot be achieved by the dispossessed acting alone. And there is no one strategy to accomplish it. Rather, a more just society requires conscious thinking and multiple strategies and actions carried out by diverse peoples and organizations.

WeConservePA is committed to providing a variety of programming focused on or incorporating DEIJ principles and resources to help individuals and conservation organizations engage in the work of DEIJ.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice Community

In 2020, WeConservePA initiated the creation of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Community open to anyone working in the field of conservation to provide people a forum to share experiences, learn about and advance effective practices, and identify opportunities to individually and collectively promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in conservation work and organizations. Interested people self-selected themselves to participate and shape the Community’s future. Following two years of WeConservePA support, the Community elected in 2022 to become a fully independent body to increase its impact. If you are interested in joining with the DEIJ Community, please email Andrew Kirkpatrick at [email protected].


WeConservePA plans and implements programming addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizational internal affairs and service delivery. WeConservePA interweaves instruction on equity and inclusion into WeConservePA training, networking, and inspirational events (roundtables, workshops, lectures, etc.), as well as other services. WeConservePA further supports initiatives that encourage a greater diversity of people to connect with the land (through trails, nature play, or other pathways) and join in the work of conservation.

If you are interested in helping with this programming in any way, please email WeConservePA’s director of education, Carol Grayshaw, at [email protected], or Andrew Kirkpatrick at [email protected].

Resources for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice

Statements from Conservation Organizations

A Letter from Maya K. van Rossum: Racial Justice Demands Constitutional Green Amendments. A video discussing the intersection of environmental rights and environmental racism, and how passing a constitutional environmental rights amendment (a Green Amendment) in every state across the nation can serve as an invaluable tool for communities facing disproportionate environmental burdens.

A Message to Our Members and the Manada Conservancy Community. Statement from Manada Conservancy.

A Necessary Reckoning. A statement from the president and CEO of the Land Trust Alliance on the reckoning of land trusts in perpetuating inequity and an announcement of a task force that will develop and deliver a full curriculum on America’s history of public and private land conservation and its place in systemic racism, land loss, and disenfranchisement.

A Special Message from French & Pickering’s Executive Director, Bill Gladden. Statement regarding the continuation of making natural spaces refuges for everyone.

ASWP Statement on Racism. Statement from the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.

Breathing the Same Air. Statement from Todd Pride, Executive Director of the Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County, on addressing racial injustice in conservation and the ability of nature to unite everyone.

Conservation & Justice for All. Statement from the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association.

Conservation Hasn’t Done Enough to Dismantle Racism. Statement and reflection on racism in conservation from Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.

Environmentalists Cannot Remain Silent on Racism. Statement from the Nature Conservancy on the need to elevate marginalized voices in strategic discussions in environmental action.

In Solidarity. Message of solidarity from Lancaster Conservancy.

Message from Dave Arscott. Message from Dave Arscott, Executive Director of Stroud Water Research Center.

Nature for All. Statement from Natural Lands addressing the need to ensure that natural spaces are open to everyone.

Our Commitment to Addressing Racial Injustice and Fostering Inclusivity. Message from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology on committing to combat racial injustice and racial inequality.

Our Nation’s Historic Stain. Message from President and CEO of The Conservation Fund on conservation’s role in enabling honest dialogue and discussion on racism within the US.

Outdoors for All. Statement from DCNR regarding the commitment to making natural spaces open to all.

Pulling Down Our Monuments. A reexamination of the Sierra Club’s past and role in perpetuating white supremacy from Sierra Club’s Executive Director, Michael Brune.

Racial Injustice & Our Next Steps. Statement from Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area.

Racial Equity is the Only Path. Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s message of unity and action.

Revealing the Past to Create the Future. An account and reckoning regarding John James Audubon from President and CEO of the National Audubon Society, David Yarnold.

Statement from Neighborhood Gardens Trust. Statement from the Neighborhood Gardens Trust regarding racial injustice.

We’re trying but we need to do more. Statement from President of Berks Nature, Kim Murphy.

We Are an Alliance of Allies. Statement of alliance with Black Lives Matter from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Anti-Racism Resources

Anti-Racist HR Guide. Guide for creating a social justice centered workplace.

Anti-racism resources for white people. A compilation of resources intended to help white people and parents to deepen our anti-racism work.

Avoiding Racial Equity Detours. Discussion on how students experiencing racism in schools can’t wait for schools to take action.

Dear White People: Guidelines for Impactful Actions in Support of the Black Community. Blog post in J.E.D.I. Heart that provides insight on making racial equity actions and growing ally-ship impactful and effective.

Four Ways White Supremacy Culture Hinders J.E.D.I. Progress. Blog article from J.E.D.I. Heart on the ways in which recognize how white supremacy can show up in organizations.

Implicit Association Test. Test from Project Implicit that provides individual reports on attitudes or beliefs regarding implicit associations.

Project Implicit. An organization that translates that academic research into practical applications for addressing diversity, improving decision-making, and increasing the likelihood that practices are aligned with personal and organizational values.

Seeing White. Scene on Radio is a podcast that tells stories exploring human experience and American society. Produced and hosted by John Biewen, Scene on Radio comes from the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University and is distributed by PRX.  Season 2, the Peabody-nominated Seeing White, Biewen and collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika explored the history and meaning of whiteness.

The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture. A list of white supremacy characteristics from the book Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups.

Diversity & Inclusion in Conservation

Best Practices for Environmental Educators to Engage Diverse Audiences. By Tony DeFalco and Marcelo Bonta, this article is important for anyone, not just environmental educators, trying to build effective relationships with communities of color.

By the Numbers: Building a Better Board. Blog post from the Land Trust Alliance highlighting the need for diversity when establishing a board of directors.

Challenging the White Narrative of Conservation. Article from Melanin Base Camp on the need to challenge the white narrative in the conservation movement.

Changing the Face of the Environmental Movement. Video from the Environmental Leadership Program on the need to encompass diversity in the environmental movement.

Community Perspectives. A blog run by a group of community researchers known as “The ICBOs” (Independent Community-based Organizations). Individuals behind this blog represent underserved communities across North America, collectively using strengths and expertise to delve deeper and more meaningfully into research that represents our communities’ perspectives.

Delaware River Watershed Racial Justice Resource Hub. A resource hub for a variety of materials about racial justice, gender justice, intersectionality, and other topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Diversity and the Conservation Movement. Module on diversity developed by the National Audubon Society, the North American Association for Environmental Education, ToyotaTogetherGreen, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and EECapacity.

Diversity & Inclusion Resources for Trail Advocates & Community Allies. Collection of resources from the Partnership for the National Trail System.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Toolkit: Volume 1, Internal Organization Practices. Toolkit from the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Toolkit: Volume 2, External Engagement. Toolkit from the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed.

DEIJ Programming Survey Results. Google form survey conducted by the WeConservePA Programming Pod between May 18 – June 1, 2021.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Terminology Guide. A guide created by the Chesapeake Bay Alliance on how to appropriately communicate with audiences in a way that is sensitive to DEIJ considerations.

Diversity in the Great Outdoors: Is Everyone Welcome in America’s Public Lands and Parks. Article from Resources on barriers to participation in outdoor recreation and paths forward.

Engaging Latino and Hispanic Communities: Best Practices for Water Groups. Article from the River Network on engaging Latino and Hispanic populations in water conservation groups and organizations.

Environmental Groups Say They’re Committing to Racial Equity. What Does That Mean? Article from WHYY on the statements, commitments, and actions taken by environmentalists and conservation organizations to address racial equity.

Environmentalism’s Racist History. Article in The New Yorker on the history of racism in the environmental movement.

Environmentalism & White Supremacy. Article from Hirschman Water & Environment, LLC on the connection between the environmental movement and white supremacy.

For the LGTBQ Community, Birding Can Be a Relief – and a Source of Anxiety. Article from the Audubon Society on how birders are working to make birding more inclusive and welcoming.

Green Girl Leah on Why Environmentalists Must Speak Up for Black Lives Matter. Article featuring Leah Thomas on why environmentalists and environmental organizations need to stand with the black lives matter movement.

How Environmentalism Can Center Racial Justice in 2021. Article on how the voices of the people who have been most impacted by environmental racism need to be the loudest.

How Outdoor Companies Can Back Up Their DEI Pledges. Professional climber Kai Lightner maps out how the outdoor community can build successful diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Leaking Talent: How People of Color are Pushed Out of Environmental Organizations. Report from Green 2.0 on diversity, equity, and inclusion in environmental organizations.

Moving Towards Anti-Racist Community Engagement in Conservation Land-Use Programming. A University of Washington research study.

Nature & Privilege: How COVID-19 Has Unlocked Equity Gaps in Nature Access. Article from the Children & Nature Network on the equity gaps in nature access as revealed by COVID-19.

Nature for All: The Groups Bringing Inclusion Outdoors. Interview with José G. González, the founder of Latino Outdoors.

Nicole Jackson: Environmental Educator – Black Birders Week. Blog post from PBS’s Nature featuring an interview with Nicole Jackon (one of the co-organizers of Black Birders Week), who discussed how to make environmentalism more inclusive.

Operationalizing Racial Justice in Non-Profit Organizations. Reflections and experiences to five commonly asked questions regarding operationalizing racial justice in non-profit organizations.

Partnerships for Impact: A Workbook for Informal Science Educators and Outreach Specialists Working with Diverse Communities. This workbook is for anybody from a predominately white institution looking to build equitable partnerships with communities of color. This is a companion workbook to the Meaningful Community Collaborations Research Poster.

Philanthropy Can’t Support the Common Good When It Supports White Supremacy (Letter to the Editor). Letter to the editor of explaining how the Chronicle of Philanthropy must reflect on the role of philanthropy itself in promoting, funding, and sustaining organizations committed to white supremacy.

Racist Roots, Lack of Diversity, Haunt National Parks. E&E News article on the history of racism in the National Park Service.

Respect Differences? Challenging the Common Guidelines in Social Justice Education. Paper examining the limits on established guidelines for social justice education and alternative strategies.

Standing for Black Lives. Collections of educational resources compiled by the Conservation Trust for North Carolina about systemic racism, the radicalized history of land, and how we as a conservation community can become strong allies to people of color.

Statements About George Floyd Are a Start, but How Will Organizations Live Their Values? Conversation from the Chronicle of Philanthropy on how organizations can abide by their statements against racial inequality.

Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Program (SFLR). Article from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities focusing on the opportunity for minority landowners to increase family income and land asset value through improved sustainable forest management, with a broader goal of land ownership retention.

The A.T. and Race. Article examining how the Appalachian Trail has been a place for White people, and how hikers, Trail clubs, and the ATC take ownership of the entire history of the Trail’s past to the door for a just and equitable future for the Appalachian Trail.

The Conservation and Diversity Program. Blog post from the Land Trust Alliance providing an overview and results of the Conservation & Diversity Program created by the Conservation Trust of North Carolina.

The Real Reason Many Organizations are Still Unable to Diversify Their Board, Staff, Fundraising Committees, etc. Discussion and reflections on why attempts to diversify organizations has been discouraging.

Transforming a Movement: How Foundations Can Support Effective Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Capacity Building Efforts in Environmental Organizations. Report from J.E.D.I. Heart on how DEI can support capacity building efforts in environmental organizations.

What Conservation Efforts Can Learn from Indigenous Communities. Article from Scientific American outlining how a major U.N.-backed report says that nature on indigenous peoples’ lands is degrading less quickly than in other areas

Why the Climate Fight is a Social Justice Fight. Post from the Climate Reality Project on the interconnection between climate action and social justice.

Why Every Environmentalist Should be Anti-Racist. Article in Vogue on the importance of combating racism within the environmental movement.

Personal Reflections

As an Immigrant Woman of Color, Invisibility Kept Me Safe Outdoors – Until it Didn’t.  Reflections from a Filipina American on invisibility as a person of color in the outdoors.

Being Black While in Nature: ‘You’re an Endangered Species.’ Article from Pocket Worthy on the inequalities for black people who spend time in nature.

Conserving While Black: Breaking Down Barriers in the Conservation Community. Personal reflection from a USFWS Public Affairs Officer.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion. Guest editorial and reflection on the diversity, equity, and justice movement in the white environmental movement.

This Land is Your Land? Insights from an African American Conservationist. Photographer and videographer, Dudley Edmonson, reflects on his relationship with nature and the need for diversity and the dismantlement of systematic racism in conservation.

Thoughts on the Killing of George Floyd. Personal reflection by Chad Brown featured in Hatch on systematic racism in the outdoor industry.