National Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Team (DEITT)

PARC IEDTT Members
Attendees of the first IEDTT breakout session at the 2018 Northeast PARC meeting in Amherst, Massachusetts. Photo by David Muñoz.

PARC’s mission: Forging proactive partnerships that facilitate conservation of amphibians, reptiles, and the places they live.

PARC’s Core Value of Inclusivity and Collaboration: PARC is a network that is open to people of all backgrounds, skills, and perspectives, thus providing a community of practice, which coordinates and cooperates toward mutual or complementary goals.

National Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Task Team mission: To improve cultural competency, increase inclusion, engage a wide audience and recruit & support members from a diversity of social and cultural characteristics including, but not limited to, race, skin color, ethnic heritage, class, religion, geography, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental/physical ability, age and more.

Key Objectives:

  1. Improve cultural competency
    Enable PARC members to work with people from different backgrounds, approaches and worldviews towards creative conservation solutions that integrate multiple perspectives.
  1. Increase PARC’s capacity for inclusion
    Ensure all PARC members feel respected, included and valued at PARC.
  1. Engage & attract diverse audiences & members
    Create opportunities for engagement from a diverse range of stakeholders and communities.

DEITT ACCOMPLISHMENTS & PRODUCTS

(August 2017 – April 2019)

  1. Improving cultural competency
    Diversity training for PARC leadership: The DEITT led a diversity and inclusion workshop during the annual in-person meeting of PARC leadership held during the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Norfolk, VA in March 2018. Led by Jeramie Strickland of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this workshop involved several engaging activities and discussions that demonstrated the importance of diversity in conservation fields, as well as the PARC network.

    Inclusion, equity, and diversity presentation: To set a tone of inclusion at PARC’s regional meetings, the DEITT developed an oral presentation to (1) define inclusion, equity, and diversity; (2) highlight the strengths of inclusion, equity, and diversity in relation to PARC’s mission and conservation in general; and (3) update PARC members with progress and projects put forth by the DEITT. So far, the presentation has reached Northeast and Southwest PARC, PARC’s Federal Agency Steering Committee, and the US Forest Service (USFS). Plans are in place to increase accessibility of the presentation via online platforms.

    Regional meeting breakout session: In addition to a presentation, the DEITT led a breakout session at the Northeast PARC meeting in 2018 to facilitate discussions about the role of personal identity in conservation science and management. The session attracted 15 attendants and provided a successful template for future breakout sessions at other regional meetings.

  1. Increasing capacity for inclusion
    Demography and inclusion surveys: An initial step in achieving the goals of the DEITT is to assess the current atmosphere and dynamics in the PARC network. As such, the DEITT has developed a post-meeting survey tool to assess the current attitudes among members and the tone of interactions that occur at regional meetings. The survey was launched in February 2018 and has been put into action in 4 PARC regions: Southeast, Northwest, Northeast, and Southwest. The team collected data from 134 respondents in year 1 and hopes to grow that number in year 2.

    Diversity statement and strategic plan: The DEITT has drafted a document to define PARC’s dedication to diversity in the context of PARC’s core values and mission. In addition to the diversity statement, this document will identify actionable and measurable goals for increasing inclusion, equity, and diversity in the PARC network. Many diversity-related initiatives require major shifts in structural and cultural values and commitment to both short-term strategies that result in immediate change as well as long-term strategies that lay the groundwork for incremental change. This will be a “living” document that will grow along with the PARC network. PARC will use this document in conjunction with its strategic plan and operations plan for decision-making and prioritization, as well as holding the organization accountable to its core value of inclusivity and collaboration. Projected date for finalized document: Spring 2019.

    Keynote speaker surveys: The DEITT has developed a tool to survey past and future PARC-invited keynote speakers to gain insight on the identity and experiences of keynote speakers at PARC’s regional meetings. Surveys were launched in 2018, and data collection is in progress. The goal of this survey is to provide valuable information to regional co-chairs and meetings planners who are charged with keynote speaker selection. For those interested in finding keynote speakers from a variety of backgrounds, there is an excellent online resource for finding such speakers, where ecologists and evolutionary biologists self-nominate themselves: diversifyeeb.wordpress.com.

PARC IEDTT Members
Jeramie Strickland leads a diversity & inclusion workshop at the annual in-person meeting of PARC leadership in March 2018. Photo by Neha Savant.
  1. Engaging & attracting diverse audiences & members
    Scholarships for youth outreach and education: The DEITT partnered with The Amphibian Foundation, The Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (ARC), and USFS to bring a week of Critter Camp to underserved youth in Atlanta. Critter Camp is a science-based, exciting educational experience that emphasizes the importance of reptiles and amphibians and their roles in a healthy ecosystem — how they should be respected, marveled at — but not feared. In total, this partnership provided scholarships to 15 children, reducing out-of-pocket costs from $350 to just $25 per student, as well as stipends for 2 volunteer staff members.

    Scholarships to attend regional meetings: The DEITT has recently formed a project team charged with developing, promoting, and awarding scholarships to broaden participation at regional meetings. Preliminary results from DEITT demography and inclusion surveys suggest that the cost of travelling to meetings is a barrier to participation in the PARC network. By supporting those who are interested in PARC but unable to afford the myriad of costs associated with attending meetings, the DEITT will directly support promising conservation biologists and enhance the diversity of PARC’s membership.

    Social media campaign: The DEITT launched a Twitter campaign (@HerpetALLogy) to showcase the diverse identities, experiences, and perspectives within the fields of herpetology and conservation biology. Each week, a member of the community is given access to the @HerpetALLogy account for a 24-hr period and engages with followers by sharing their own stories and/or engaging in constructive dialogue. If you are interested in participating in a @HerpetALLogy takeover, please fill out this Google Form or email Kirsten Hecht at herpetallogy@gmail.com.

DEITT Member List

PARC IEDTT Members
PARC IEDTT Members

Members listed have attended three or more monthly calls or are on a project team

  • Staci Amburgey (demography & inclusion survey team)
  • JJ Apodaca
  • Anat Belasen (scholarship team)
  • Bob Broadman
  • Andrew Cantrell
  • Michelle Christman
  • Becca Cozad
  • Andrea Drayer
  • Stephen Feely (scholarship team)
  • Karen Hallberg (demography & inclusion survey team)
  • Krissy Harman (scholarship team)
  • Kirsten Hecht (social media campaign)
  • Jessica Homyack
  • Jen Lamb (demography & inclusion survey team)
  • Mark Mandica (scholarships for youth outreach)
  • David Muñoz (co-chair & presentation team)
  • Priya Nanjappa
  • Alex Novarro (ex-officio co-chair)
  • Alison Ochs (scholarship team)
  • Neha Savant (co-chair)
  • Jeramie Strickland (diversity training for PARC leadership)
  • Brooke Talley
  • Jen Williams
  • Brian Zarate

* We recently decided to change the name of our task team from Inclusion, Equity & Diversity Task Team (IEDTT) to its current form, DEITT. This decision was made for two reasons: 1) We wanted to match the standard phrasing of “diversity, equity & inclusion” and 2) the shorthand for our former name “IED” was not sensitive to our veteran members. We apologize for any confusion.