Mass Audubon Updates Status of DEIJA Initiatives Statewide
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA--Mass Audubon has a proud 126-year history of protecting the nature of Massachusetts, conserving some of the most spectacular places across the state, saving wildlife and the habitats they depend on, and educating millions of students and adults.
We made a commitment two years ago to embed the principles of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice into all aspects of our work. This work represents a sincere commitment to making Mass Audubon an inclusive and equitable organization, and ensuring we create an environment of belonging across all of our wildlife sanctuaries. Actions we are committed to include:
- Addressing the impacts of climate change on the most disinvested and climate-vulnerable communities.
- Establishing Mass Audubon’s Nature in the City program focused on working with community partners to provide and restore more greenspaces (trees, parks, open spaces) and nature-based programming in seven communities that lack adequate access to nature.
- Launching the Mass Audubon Environmental Fellows Program to increase access to careers in conservation for young professionals with identities that are underrepresented in the environmental field.
- Expanding equitable access to nature through adopting sliding-scale tuition for a set of programs and building more universally accessible All Persons Trails for all to experience the outdoors.
- Diversifying our Board of Directors; people of color now represent nearly a quarter of the Board.
- Undergoing internal Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility (DEIJA) training and assessment to identify and set measurable DEIJA goals for the organization, including hiring practices, and holding the organization accountable for achieving them.
We currently have no plans to change the organization’s name but reserve the right to revisit it in the future. Rather, we are focused on the important work of becoming an inclusive, equitable, and belonging institution by listening carefully to our members, centering marginalized voices in our work, and taking meaningful actions such as those listed above.
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.