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.

The Work Never Ends

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. The consulting group, Strength Perspective, first guided the development of an action-oriented strategy. Now, DEI Outdoors is assisting in the implementation of an integrated workplan.  But the work itself never ends.

Full DEIAB Committee

  • Rachel Hailey, BNRC board member, Current Consultant, and Owner/Transformationalist at DEI Outdoors (formerly Rachel Hailey & Associates Consulting), a firm that deals directly with the outdoor industry to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in organizations
  • Lorena Dus, Director of Client and Community Services at Berkshire Immigrant Center

Thank you to Polly Williams and Jen “Dusty” Clitheroe from Strength Perspective Managing Partner and Consultant for guiding us through our first two years of work

  • Kim Seward, BNRC board member
  • Larry Lane, BNRC board member
  • Jenny Hansell, President
  • Mackenzie Greer, Director of Public Programs
  • Mariah Fogg, Community Conservation Manager
  • Beth Mills, Director of Land Conservation
  • Charlotte Hood, Volunteer and Outreach Assistant
  • Kathleen Smolinski, Assistant Director of Fundraising and Community Engagement
  • Ashley Winseck, Special Assistant to the President
  • Jenifer Dickinson, Stewardship Coordinator