Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Access & Belonging (DEIAB)
BNRC’s mission has always been “to protect and preserve the natural beauty and ecological integrity of the Berkshires for the public benefit and enjoyment.”
What does this mean when viewed through a lens that centers on equity and inclusion? Beginning in 2020, we began educating ourselves and exploring these issues as they pertain to every aspect of BNRC and its work. Commitment by BNRC staff and its board members to learning, growing, evolving, and strengthening the organization’s DEIAB efforts is ongoing.
The Work Ahead & Our Guiding Questions
How do we ensure that BNRC’s culture, programs, and operations are inclusive, and offer dignity, respect, and belonging for all?
In partnership with diverse people and organizations, members of the BNRC staff and board are developing a clear plan with actionable steps for creating a wider range of outdoor experiences, education, and amenities for everyone who lives, works, and visits the Berkshire. Specifically, we’re actively:
- Recruiting diverse staff and board members, with the goal of making BNRC at least as diverse as Berkshire County.
- Advocating for anti-discriminatory and inclusionary efforts within conservation, education, and stewardship programs, while working to dismantle systemic racism.
- Exploring and challenging privileged narratives about who is outside; what they are doing; where, when, why, and how they are doing it; and the very concept of how land is owned.
- Broadening the collection of communities and individuals who influence the why, how, and what of fulfilling BNRC’s mission.
An Ongoing Commitment
BNRC’s DEIAB work has involved the full staff, a staff committee, community members, and the Board of Directors. This work has ranged from grappling with the big concepts and how they relate to land conservation and our organization, to focused education for staff and board, to deeper analysis of our programs and operations. With the guidance of consultants Polly Williams and Jen “Dusty” Clithero at Strength Perspectives, BNRC’s board and staff launched our own internal education and exploration, and began developing a strategy to address all areas of the organization. Now, DEI Outdoors, a firm that deals directly with the outdoor industry to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations, is supporting BNRC in the implementation of an integrated workplan.
BNRC’s DEIAB Team
- Rachel Hailey, BNRC board member and Owner/Transformationalist at DEI Outdoors
- Lorena Dus, Director of Client and Community Services at Berkshire Immigrant Center
- Kim Seward, BNRC board member
- Larry Lane, BNRC board member
- Jenifer Dickinson, Stewardship Coordinator
- Mariah Fogg, Community Conservation Manager
- Jenny Hansell, President
- Charlotte Hood, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
- Beth Mills, Director of Land Conservation
- Johnny Robinson, Conservation Associate
- Kathleen Smolinski, Assistant Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement
- Donovan Snyder, Land Steward
- Ashley Winseck, Chief of Staff
- Melanie Winters, Donor Relations Manager