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Yellow Trail Autumn Morning

The holiday season is officially underway! This time of year allows us to reconnect, get closer to our loved ones, and reflect on another year of lessons. It also calls us to think about the year ahead. This past month I have been doing so in terms of our conservation community.

In the beginning of November, the Regional Conservation Partnership Network had its annual meeting. One of the first things I noticed was the warmth surrounding a gathering of like-minded conservationists near and far. It was a very welcoming space with a heavy focus on partnerships. The opening discussion panel reflected on how far conservation has come but also who has been left behind, and where we can improve moving forward. The point was made that it’s not about just inviting people to the table but creating a welcoming environment. Have you ever avoided a space because you didn’t feel like your presence was wanted?

The conversation coincided with the launch of the Land Trust Alliance’s DEI Framework and Resources for Change Toolkit. It is a great new resource for anyone looking to improve their approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

After reading through the introductory material, begin with “Your Individual Journey”. It is described as a journey because the work is ongoing. You will take a self-paced dive into vetted thoughts and practices around DEI principles. See how it makes you feel, and feel how it makes you think. Lean into any discomfort. That is where change happens.

Conservation is most successful when everyone is on board because the land affects us all. There is a responsibility in the community to build meaningful relationships at every level. Since 2020, mindsets have shifted and practices are being improved as we move toward more inclusive partnerships. We as individuals also have a responsibility to build meaningful relationships with each other. I am reading through the toolkit myself to improve my own school of thought and how these principles can be applied both here at CLCC and beyond.

As we begin to close the book on another year, let us all see how we can push forward with open minds and understanding hearts in these uncertain times.

Thank you for your reflection and best of luck on your journey.

Photo Credit: Mark Jackson

Tags: DEI, LTA