Like many organizations, corporations, and agencies in the conservation field, the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership wrestles with the compelling need to better reflect the diversity of America within our ranks. The U.S. is 38% minority today. The conservation field is far behind that.
But there is a growing movement to be more inclusive and to recognize the importance of the outdoors among all peoples.
Here’s a Chesapeake example of engaging more folks outdoors. The Potomac Conservancy, a Partnership member, hosts a series of summertime “alternative happy hours” to get people paddling on the Potomac. The after-work events, carried out with support from the National Park Service Chesapeake Gateways, almost always sell out with an average of 95 people participating. The Conservancy partners with other organizations, including Outdoor Afro, to expand the reach.
More broadly, a coalition of social media influencers–Diversify Outdoors–works to promote diversity in outdoor recreation and conservation. The group has some good tips on how to be an ally in the effort. And it couldn’t be more important. They remind us “the Census Bureau projects that the country will have a majority nonwhite population by 2044. As Glenn Nelson of The Trail Posse writes, ‘If that new majority has little or no relationship with the outdoors, then the future of the nation’s parks, and the retail and nonprofit ecosystem that surrounds them, will be in trouble.’”
How are you working to help diversify the outdoors and the conservation community? Send us an email to share your thoughts and help continue the conversation.