Highlighting a Colorful Array of Birds and the Catalyst for It: Inclusivity

i Mar 20, 2024 No Comments by

Hi all, Wake Audubon board member and Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (EDIB) co-chair Rick LaRose (he/him) here.

Starting this month, you’ll begin to see posts to our blog about birds other than our bird of the year, which as you know by now is the glorious ruby-throated hummingbird. Here’s just a quick note to invite you to read those posts, and provide an explanation as to what they’re all about.

Last fall Wake Audubon partnered with local nonprofit Field Inclusive, Inc. to co-create and pilot a Beginning Birders Program that’s tailored for historically excluded and underrepresented groups, communities and organizations to build skill and confidence in their enjoyment of the outdoors. The LGBT Center of Raleigh, Outdoor Afro, City of Raleigh Parks and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission are partners with us too. Segments of our program speak to field and social safety concerns by those marginalized by others. I’m proud to say that our pilot workshops with members of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities were well received.

For those of you new to Field Inclusive, Inc. nonprofit, it was spearheaded by two amazingly impressive women at NC State University, Lauren Pharr and Murry Burgess. Learn more about them and Field Inclusive on their website.

Wake Audubon proudly sponsors Field Inclusive research and climate change grants, and champions their mission to amplify and support marginalized and historically excluded field biologists. Field Inclusive envisions a world in which the outdoors feels safe and welcoming regardless of personal identity. And so do we.

Wake Audubon pledges to advance our mission with EDIB at the center, and provide activities where all can safely access and celebrate nature as their authentic selves. Read more in our statement on EDIB.

This year Wake Audubon and Field Inclusive will excitedly continue to co-host programming for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ participants, as we also gear up to create offerings for Persons with Disabilities. We celebrate these efforts towards an inclusive outdoors.

Why be inclusive?

From a human perspective, every one of us is unique. What opportunity that poses for all of us. I’m constantly awestruck by all I learn, and the perspective and inspiration I gain from opening my heart and mind to receive the lived experiences of others. To be quick to pass judgement denies oneself of such riches.

From a conservation perspective, it takes the world to save the planet. Just as birds differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways, so is there equally remarkable diversity of the human species.

Protecting and conserving nature and the environment transcends political, cultural, and social boundaries. Respect, inclusion, and opportunity for people of all backgrounds, lifestyles, and perspectives will attract the best ideas and harness the greatest passion to shape a healthier, more vibrant future for all species who share our planet.

Now, back to those bird posts. As a way to promote a birding mindset, the executive director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, Kori Hennessey, and I thought it would be fun to spotlight a few species of birds, and to correlate each to a color of the rainbow Pride flag. So, starting next week with the color red, I’ll familiarize you with a bird a month. This may provide new knowledge to the novice birders among you, with perhaps a nugget or two new for you seasoned birders too.

Thank you for supporting Wake Audubon in our mission to advocate nature and environmental conservation, and to lead education, conservation and advocacy efforts to grow our region responsibly and with concern for birds, wildlife and the places all of us live together.



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