Join this session to learn how to plan and manage trails that serve as wide a range of users as possible, while minimizing environmental impact. People often say walking is their favorite physical activity. Especially now, in the age of a global pandemic, people crave engagement in outdoor recreation activities; but for many people, limitations related to access prevent them from doing so. Land trusts, and land managers for public spaces, have an interest in providing trails and outdoor places to recreate that ensure everyone has access to nature. This session will explore Universal Design, Accessible Design, and how they work hand-in-hand to address and overcome barriers and challenges to access. You will learn about two real-world examples of land trusts who provided universal access trails. Having poor health or disabilities does not decrease a person’s desire for experiencing nature, just as one’s economic or cultural background does not eliminate the longing for outdoor experiences. We have a stewardship responsibility to address diversity, equity and inclusion and acknowledge we can do better to ensure access for all.
The Native Land Trust Council (NLTC) partners will explain how to work with federally-recognized tribes and Native land trust to expand land conservation, protect landscapes, watershed, sacred sites, traditional use areas and cultural resources through partnerships. NLTC will discuss the application of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to mitigate climate change (ocean acidification, sea-level rise, drought, extreme fire and wind events, etc.) impacts on their lands.
Large, densely populated, and bustling with activity, cities are cultural and economic centers, providing employment, leisure, and educational opportunities. Approximately 84% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas and by 2050, that is projected to increase to 89%. In order to meet the growing demands for clean water, food and energy, cities must find ways to maintain well-being for people through sustainable land use, efficient resource management and the protection of biodiversity. How will conservation organizations that usually operate in rural and ex-urban settings adapt to population shifts? Conservation based urban initiatives have the potential to contribute to more socially just and ecologically strong cities by encouraging community ownership and investment in neighborhoods and by increasing the number and quality of open spaces in the city. Innovative strategies for urban conservation are needed. During this workshop, participants will hear from land trust leaders who are working in urban environments and learn how they are contributing to models for community stewardship of urban land. We will explore how these models can potentially address the needs of urban communities and examine the pitfalls of this work. We will also discuss key guidelines for engaging in urban communities. Participants will leave energized to explore ways of working in cities and with tools to implement urban initiatives in their work, regardless of size and with minimal capacity.
This session will focus on the direct correlation between wealth redistribution, increased access to land and healing justice for Black, Indigenous and other communities of color (BIPOC). Through the intersecting lenses of decolonization, anti-oppression and economics, we will share models of land access that restore harmony, reconfigure power and reconnect the mycelial network of BIPOC land stewards to their purpose to nourish our communities and the land. This session will briefly illuminate the effects of colonization on the body, mind and spirit, and economies followed by explorations of land access models employed to rebalance power and heal relationships. We will make space for the processing of challenges and barriers; and collective inquiry. By uplifting grass-roots models for land access currently changing the landscape of wealth redistribution, participants will walk away with knowledge of accessible, action-oriented solutions.
The gap between societal demographics and non-white professionals in the conservation movement in North America are well documented. For example, approximately 85% of staff at environmental organizations are white. Moreover, people of color are underrepresented at multiple levels: internships, staff positions, leadership positions and board membership. This is in contrast to research demonstrating that people of color are concerned about and support a broad set of environmental issues, including conservation and climate change, at higher rates than white people. As a response many environmental NGOs are trying to attract people of color through diversity measures. However, though often conflated, diversity and inclusion are not the same, and many non-white practitioners do not find their work environment to be inviting or supportive of their identity and/or culture once hired. This session will first feature panelists of non-white racial identities working as conservation professionals, whose personal experiences and perspectives illustrate some of the challenges faced within the predominant conservation framework in the United States. The panelists will then guide critical conversation combining data, personal experience and facilitated discussion. Ultimately, participants will leave with a greater understanding of what is needed to work towards an effective conservation movement, that serves all communities.
In cities across America, too many neighborhoods struggle with undue concentrations of stagnation, disinvestment and poverty. Past decisions have led to disparities in community opportunities. Land trusts need to help ensure that new investments in parks benefit everyone, especially the people and families who need it most. Most funding for parks is generated through voter-approved measures at the state and local level. In 2019, voters approved 33 of 41 measures, creating nearly $1 billion for new parks, the protection of water quality, natural areas and working farms and ranches in seventeen states. In New Orleans and Pittsburgh, important ballot measures that will intentionally direct funding to park-underserved areas of those communities passed. Since 1988, voters in cities, counties, and states have approved over 2,000 ballot measures, creating $80 billion in new funding for parks and conservation. Land trusts have been involved in many of these successful ballot measures, developing their advocacy chops and, in some cases, truly transforming their organizations. This workshop provides land trusts with the tools needed to lead or support ballot measures. Learn from communities that have successfully taken their case to the voters to create new funding for historically park under-served neighborhoods.
Words like “diversity, equity and inclusion” get tossed around a lot these days. However, what do they really mean and how can we apply them internally in our organization without feeling overwhelmed, or tokenized? This workshop is designed to propel you forward to actualize your personal commitment as a leader and champion in your organization. We will name and examine barriers that get in the way of DEI efforts and practices using tools that reset, realign and reimagine the equitable and inclusive spaces we each desire to live into. Participants will learn how to build a template for an inclusive culture using key skills like empathy and active listening. We will also develop a deeper understanding of what an equity lens is and learn how to apply it to your programs, policies and procedures. This workshop will be packed with storytelling, mindfulness and fun! Leave inspired to test new tools, ideas and methods of integrating diversity, equity and inclusion into your organization and culture.
As the composition of our nation continues to become more diverse, the conservation movement must include the voices of people who aren’t traditionally “included” in conservation conversations, including local social justice organizations. These collaborations rely heavily on building relationships rooted in equality and trust. To build these partnerships, conservation organizations have to enter into new forms of collaboration with structures that encourage and support the active participation, authentic relationships, and ownership for all. This inclusion should be met with a willingness to meet these groups where they are, and with the intention to work side-by-side as partners. Our common end goal is to protect the environment, and make the communities where we work and recreate, better places to live. Join Conservationists of Color and community members as we highlight examples of successful partnerships and have meaningful discussions about how community collaboration can bring about authentic and structural change.
In the last Census, 1 out of 5 Americans identified themselves as having a disability. Land trusts are committed to designing and implementing successful community-centered conservation models, including ensuring everyone has access to nature. Come learn from members of our National Advisory Committee on Inclusive Health and Disabilities about how your organization can take practical steps to engage people with disabilities to improve access to the health and wellness benefits of nature. Panelists will use a framework of Nine Guidelines for Disability Inclusion. Come explore authentic engagement across all sectors of disability: physical, intellectual, mental-health, neurological, and emotional. Lessons learned here on how to engage those in the disability sector can also inform similar approaches to serve other populations who have not shared equitably in nature’s health and wellness benefits.
Session Level: All Levels Session Location: Online
It’s time to move the diversity conversation forward. Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) have been organizing for years to create their own access to the outdoors where access has historically been denied or hard to get. How do land trusts leverage their resources to amplify the impact BIPOC groups have in their own communities? By creating opportunities for equitable access to the places land trusts protect.
For the past year two chapters of The Nature Conservancy (TNC), in New York and Washington State, independently established partnerships with Latino Outdoors to create equitable access to TNC preserves. Latinx communities from NYC and Seattle, respectively, visited local TNC preserves to experience and steward nature.
In this session, we breakdown the lessons learned from two distinct partnership building strategies; define what “equitable” means in partnerships; explore the challenges that all partners face; and how this type of partnership can be replicated. Participants will leave with ideas for forming their own partnerships with BIPOC organizations and entities that might be interested in working with local and national land trusts.
Over the last 15 years a community transformation has been taking shape in southwest Santa Rosa (SWSR) in Sonoma County, CA. In 2014, "A Portrait of Sonoma" found that SWSR residents’ American Human Development Index (a measure of well-being) was a third of that of a community a mere five miles away, meaning that a child born in SWSR could be expected to have an average life expectancy of 10 years less than their more affluent neighbors across town.
In an effort to improve the quality of life for all residents, a publicly funded open space district, a nonprofit focused on connecting people with the land, local County and City agencies and officials, and others have permanently protected nearly 40 acres of land in SWSR to provide places to celebrate culture, grow food, and find tranquility in nature amidst increasingly urbanized surroundings.
In this session, participants will hear stories of how local government and not for profit organizations have joined together, even triumphing over tragedy, to create vibrant, culturally relevant welcoming spaces that are sources of pride, joy and healing for a diverse community.
Participants will be provided opportunities to consider urban open space projects at home; creative partnerships and funding for successful project implementation; strategies and tools for community outreach and engagement; tactics for tackling challenges; and ways to describe the benefits of urban open space to ecosystem, economic, and human health.
At Ease: Art and Nature for Veterans is an innovative approach to empower military veterans’ wellbeing by connecting them to nature and the arts. Research shows that time in nature reduces stress and improves mental disorders that afflict veterans, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Developed by Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods in suburban Chicago, the program provides regular art workshops with a professional artist in collaboration with recreational therapists. At each 3-hour session, approximately 15-20 veterans participate in the three-part day. Professional artists teach skills such as macrophotography, color theory and music. The class ventures outside to practice their technique while exploring Ryerson Woods’ plants, wildlife, and 6.5 miles of trails. The day concludes with a group discussion that positively affirms each person’s work. Top pieces are featured in an annual holiday exhibition, attended by veterans and their families. This workshop tells the story of the At Ease program as a way to share best practices for engaging diverse populations of veterans and to share methods for using art to invite people to connect with land and open space. We will also explore strategies for identifying and partnering with federal and local agencies and nonprofit organizations in other sectors in order to share resources and expand impactful programs throughout regions and landscapes.