We at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies know that biological communities and organizations are strongest and most resilient when they are most diverse. However, we have much work to do to create and sustain diversity and equity in the field of ecology itself—one of the least diverse fields of science. As an organization that aims to “unite people and science for conservation,” we recognize that to truly advance that goal we must create a culture that celebrates diversity, fosters inclusivity, and values dissenting opinions and rigorous examination within our own community.
Diversity drives innovation. We will more actively seek to increase the diversity of our staff, board, volunteers, and supporters to more closely resemble the diverse communities that utilize our science and research. We are committed to a workplace free of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or nationality; gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation; socio-economic class; age; accessibility needs; religion or worship practices; veteran or military service status; education; or political affiliation.
Equity is our ethos. We strive to implement policies and practices that ensure everyone has fair, equitable access to opportunities to contribute and thrive. To achieve this goal, we must identify and break down barriers that prevent some groups from fully engaging with us through employment, volunteer, and educational opportunities.
Inclusion empowers. People who feel included are creative and inspired by the culture around them to grow and to reach outside their community. Only by feeling included can any of us reach our potential as individuals, and as collaborative actors. We will know we are inclusive when we see it develop in our colleagues–as they shed their skins and become inspired speakers and actors in their professional work, willing to take risks, and to grow.
VCE values diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we are committed to action that creates and sustains meaningful change, both within our organization and our broader sphere of influence.
We endeavor to:
- promote the science, research, and importance of Black, Indigenous, People of Color naturalists and biologists, and amplify their voices through VCE’s social media and other outreach channels;
- prominently display this Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement on our website;
- explore avenues for increasing diversity within the birding and naturalist communities and improving access to naturalist pursuits in Vermont;
- bring increased focus to the biodiversity value of urban landscapes in Vermont and beyond;
- acknowledge the ancestral Indigenous lands where our work occurs;
- expand recruitment for employment opportunities beyond the Northeast and to historically Black colleges and universities and urban community colleges;
- reexamine our partnerships to collaborate with racially diverse institutions;
- and evaluate our outreach, employment, and programming practices and priorities to build diversity across our organization—including volunteers, interns, staff, board, and constituents.