By Lauren Whitenack, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.
LAS has a new committee! The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee will be responsible for promoting diversity within our membership, chapter leadership, and the communities that our work reaches. Here at LAS, we believe that all people should have the opportunity to enjoy nature and the outdoors, regardless of identity or background. Conservation work is most effective when those from diverse backgrounds and with diverse ideas work together to solve our generation‘s most pressing problems. Additionally, we believe that increased diversity will strengthen our organization and allow us to have a greater impact on the broader communities of Northern Nevada.
The first priorities of the EDI committee will be to 1) write an official diversity statement for the organization; and 2) establish primary committee goals and methods for achieving those goals. While this committee is new, EDI-oriented practices have been in place at LAS for years. We have a history of working with underserved groups of people to bring them the joy of birds and nature. For example, the Education Committee provides programming for Title I schools in Nevada, introducing children from low-income areas to native Nevada birds and bird biology. The Field Trip Committee works with the National Federation for the Blind Nevada Chapter to provide audible bird walks for differently-sighted folks, and the Nevada Youth Empowerment Project to provide bird walks for young women experiencing homelessness. We will continue these important efforts, and more. For example, the EDI committee hopes to reach out to other underrepresented communities by participating in bilingual events and hosting diversity socials.
Are you interested in getting more involved in LAS? Want to help foster a welcoming and inclusive chapter? Our newest committee needs your help! Please contact the EDI committee chair Lauren Whitenack at email@example.com for more information or to join our committee. All are welcome.