Diversity, equity and inclusion
See below a statement on diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism from the WildResearch Board of Directors.
At WildResearch, we believe that nature is for everyone. However, we recognize that people of colour may experience undue harassment or violence by simply existing in a public space. Recent events such as the harassment of birder Christian Cooper in New York City, the assault of Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adams in Alberta, and the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis have made this reality all too clear. We also cannot ignore the racism that exists within, and is experienced by, our own birding community (read about the incident at Iona Beach Regional Park here). We must acknowledge that systemic racism touches all aspects of our society, including conservation and citizen science.
Black Birders Week highlighted the extent to which Black people experience racism while out enjoying nature, as well as multiple, tangible ways we can stand against injustice and create a safe, inclusive community. We at WildResearch have been listening, and we recognize that the onus now falls on organizations like ours to make meaningful changes.
WildResearch stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and all those fighting for racial justice and equity. WildResearch has always implicitly welcomed a diverse group of volunteers, however, we recognize that we can be more active in making birding and citizen science accessible to all people. Moving forward, we are making a commitment to unequivocally denounce racism within the birding and conservation communities, call out both blatant and subtle acts of discrimination, and actively support Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC). We see this as integral to our mission to create and foster a community of citizen scientists and nature enthusiasts that is diverse and inclusive. Our Board of Directors is currently discussing actionable diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism initiatives, including ways to reach out to and build meaningful connections with under-represented communities. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our community is a welcoming and equitable space for BIPOC and other marginalized groups.
As we devise more concrete steps, members of the board are educating ourselves on the barriers that limit access of marginalized people to sciences and the outdoors. We are listening to the experiences of marginalized folks within our community, and examining our own privilege and internalized biases. We encourage our members to do the same, and to practice anti-racism while birding and in daily life.
Our board will be discussing this topic in upcoming meetings, and we will share our plans with you, our members, as they are decided. If you have specific concerns, or would like to take part in this discussion, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued support.
Quinn McCallum, Director-at-Large
On behalf of the WildResearch Board of Directors