Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Leave No Trace is for all people and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics recognizes that every person’s relationship with the outdoors and the natural world is unique and personal. We believe in and are committed to working towards a world in which everyone is safe and welcome in the outdoors, in which all are equally included, represented, and have equal access to cultivate the personal connection that can inspire people to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. We strive to continually evolve as individuals, an organization, and as an ethic as we commit to working towards diversity, equity and inclusion.
Leave No Trace staff and Board, have developed in-depth goals to move the Center and Leave No Trace Community forward in this commitment. In the spirit of this being a movement, not a moment, we acknowledge that these programs, initiatives and goals will continue to evolve and grow over time.
Current Initiatives & Ongoing Work
The Center has engaged a consultant from Papilia on a scope of work including:
- Running a staff survey to help identify blind spots and opportunities for improvement, assess work culture and to provide staff with a chance to share viewpoints and experiences anonymously.
- The development of accountability measures with the goal of creating baseline indicators, targets, and reporting standards (in process). We hope to implement a culture of elevated voices and feedback loops that will allow us to grow and learn from each other as a staff.
- Comprehensive review of recruitment, onboarding, and retention of staff and Board members. Suggested recommendations have been adopted and are being woven into current practices.
Staff development and participation:
- An extensive JEDI reading and action information center is available for all staff members to learn from and add to.
- The staff takes part in JEDI related reading-group discussions once a month at an all-staff meeting to encourage internal discussion, awareness, and knowledge around the intersection of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion with outdoor recreation.
- Staff participation in JEDI-related trainings are tracked on a yearly basis, and continuing education and participation in such trainings is greatly encouraged and financially supported by the Center.
- A staff working group was created to address and develop DEI values and core frameworks within the organization, which continue to be integrated and addressed in the Center’s ongoing Strategic Plan.
Leave No Trace information and curriculum updates:
- There is an ongoing effort to update Leave No Trace curriculum materials to more clearly outline anti-racist and inclusive practices within outdoor ethics, and to evaluate and eliminate problematic/ outdated terminology used in Center publications. More information on the revisions process including a timeline of work can be found on this webpage.
- The Social Media Guidelines have been updated to make it explicit that the Center does not condone the use of any Leave No Trace materials or teachings to shame anyone in the outdoors, as everyone who recreates outdoors should feel respected and welcome.
- Working with Spanish speakers and the Latinx Community to translate educational materials and videos, some of which can be found here.
- The Center has added land acknowledgments into public presentations and on social media posts to honor Indigenous Peoples and cultural ways of stewarding the land, practiced from time immemorial to this day.
Partnering with outside organizations centered around this work in order to amplify and support under-represented voices and experiences within the outdoor community:
- Executive Director, Dana Watts, signed the Outdoor Industry CEO Diversity Pledge in July of 2020 – continued efforts and reporting as part of the pledge are ongoing.
- The Center has partnered with American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association and tribal partners across the U.S. to develop targeted education campaigns that increase traveler awareness of how to minimize recreation and cultural impacts when visiting Tribal Lands.
- Leave No Trace has partnered with Black Folks Camp Too to establish several initiatives designed to create unity in the outdoors and bring people from all backgrounds outside. In 2021, the Unity Blaze Patch Project was launched, with funds raised going to scholarships for outdoor education opportunities for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- The Center partnered with Outdoor Afro for their inaugural Juneteenth event and provided Leave No Trace resources for folks getting out in nature for the designated 2.5 hours, as they reflected on and celebrated the unofficial end of slavery in the United States.
Working to make outdoor spaces inclusive and accessible is fundamental to the core mission of Leave No Trace – to ensure a sustainable future for the outdoors and the planet for all people, present and future.
Leave No Trace acknowledges that the lands we enjoy through our outdoor activities are the traditional and ancestral lands of Indigenous People and First Nations. Our intention in this acknowledgment is to honor cultural ways of stewarding the land, practiced from ancient times to this day.
Let’s protect and enjoy our natural world together
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