In a year with monumental cries for cultural change to end harassment and increase diversity and inclusion, the fellows in this year’s National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) cohort were motivated to deliver real change within wildlife and natural resources conservation agencies and organizations. Our journey started when a single fellow stood silently to command the cohort’s attention, opened her journal and read a personal account of sexual harassment from her workplace. As her words settled over her colleagues, she slowly tore a page from her notebook, crumpled the page, and tossed it into the middle of the room. The page contained another story that was too difficult to read aloud. She invited others to throw their own story into the room. More crumpled balls of paper were tossed into the center. That moment was life-altering for many present and sent most of the fellows on a passionate journey of change. This workshop will discuss the NCLI intervention while panel members of the cohort discuss how the intervention affected them and their efforts since the NCLI residency. The workshop will also review the efforts of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as told by Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, David Buggs. David also co-chairs AFWA’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and is a founding member of the Diversity Joint Venture for Careers. Attendees will participate in interactive dialogue about policies for effective change within their organizations and enjoy exercises on bias and other obstacles to achieving a “Inclusive Culture”.
David Buggs, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Texas Parks and Wildlife
Susan Steffen, Social Scientist, Fisheries Research, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
John Davis, Wildlife Diversity Program Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife
Margaret Taylor, Assistant Director of Capital, Parks, and Trails, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Greg Kernohan, Director Conservation Programs, Mitigation and Env. Markets, Ducks Unlimited