Inclusion, Equity & Diversity in PARC

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.

PARC’s National Inclusion, Equity & Diversity Task Team (IEDTT) mission: To improve cultural competency, increase inclusion, engage a wide audience and recruit 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 PARC IEDTT 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.

    • Inclusion, equity & diversity presentation (year 1)
    • Diversity training for PARC leadership (year 1)
    • Social media campaign (upcoming)
    • Workshops, panels & trainings (upcoming)
  2. Increase PARC’s capacity for inclusion
    Ensure all PARC members feel respected, included and valued at PARC.

    • Demography & inclusion surveys (year 1)
    • Diversity statement & strategic plan (year 1)
    • Diversity training for PARC leadership (year 1)
  3. Engage & attract diverse audiences & members
    Create opportunities for engagement from a diverse range of stakeholders and communities.

    • Partnership with Amphibian Foundation to sponsor Critter Camps (year 1)
    • Social media campaign (upcoming)
    • Scholarships to attend regional meetings (upcoming)
    • Travel support for keynote speakers (upcoming)
Attendees of the first IEDTT breakout session at the 2018 Northeast PARC meeting in Amherst, Massachusetts. Photo by David Muñoz.

Year 1 PARC IEDTT Accomplishments & Products

  1. Demography and inclusion surveys: An initial step in achieving the goals of the IEDTT is to determine the current atmosphere and dynamics among and between participants during regional PARC meetings. As such, we have created a post-meeting survey tool that will be sent to all regional meeting attendees. Questions aim to assess the current attitudes among members and the tone of interactions that occur at meetings. We additionally ask some core demographic questions to better contextualize member responses. The survey was launched at four PARC regional meetings in 2018 (SE PARC, NW PARC, NE PARC, and SW PARC) and we are looking forward to analyzing this data to prioritize IEDTT initiatives and strategies.
  2. Inclusion, equity, and diversity presentation: To set a tone of inclusion at PARC’s regional meetings, the IEDTT has created a brief 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 IEDTT. The first presentation was done during the introductory session at NE PARC’s annual meeting on August 1st, 2018 in Massachuessets and the second was done at SW PARC’s annual meeting on September 7th, 2018 in Oklahoma. It is our goal to incorporate this presentation into each regional meeting and update it with fresh and relevant information each year.
  3. Diversity statement and strategic plan: The IEDTT is drafting a document to define PARC’s dedication to diversity in the context of our core values and mission. In addition to the diversity statement, this document identifies actionable and measurable goals for increasing inclusion, equity, and diversity in the PARC network. We recognize that 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 is 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. We aim to complete this document in Fall 2018.
  4. Partnered with The Amphibian Foundation to support youth outreach and education: In early 2018, the IEDTT partnered with The Amphibian Foundation to successfully acquire funding from the Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy (ARC) to support Critter Camps, a youth outreach program that provides quality instruction in amphibian and reptile biology and conservation for an underserved community of 6-13 year olds. This funding directly increased inclusion, equity and diversity of the next generation of amphibian and reptile conservationists by providing scholarships for students in West Atlanta, a community of potential naturalists who might not otherwise be able to participate, to attend Critter Camps. The scholarships will be used to host a workshop for students in mid-October 2018.
  5. Diversity training for PARC leadership: The IEDTT led a diversity and inclusivity 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.
Jeramie Strickland leads a diversity & inclusion workshop at the annual in-person meeting of PARC leadership in March 2018. Photo by Neha Savant.

Upcoming PARC IEDTT projects – coming soon!

  1. Social media campaign: The IEDTT is launching a social media campaign to showcase the diverse identities, experiences, and perspectives within the herpetological conservation community. Tentative launch date: October 2018
  2. Scholarships to attend regional meetings: The IEDTT aims to establish student scholarships to broaden participation at PARC’s regional meetings. By supporting students who are interested in PARC but unable to afford the myriad of costs associated with attending meetings, we can directly support young conservation biologists and enhance the diversity of PARC’s membership.
  3. Travel support for keynote speakers: The IEDTT would like to provide supplemental funding to the regions to widen the range of keynote speakers they are able to invite to regional meetings. Our goal is to encourage the regions to diversify their invitational speakers by inviting at least 1 keynote speaker who is underrepresented in the conservation fields. There is an excellent online resource for finding such speakers, where ecologists and evolutionary biologists self-nominate themselves: We will be working with regional co-chairs to how to best implement these efforts.
  4. Workshops, panels, and training: The IEDTT would like to facilitate in-person workshops, panels, and/or trainings related to diversity and inclusion during PARC’s regional meetings. It is our goal to provide at least partial financial support for qualified speakers and facilitators to lead such programs.

PARC IEDTT Member List

IEDTT members David Muñoz and Neha Savant facilitating the first IEDTT breakout session where participants discussed how to incorporate principles of equity & inclusion into their current conservation projects. Photo by Brian Zarate.

Members listed have attended four or more monthly calls and/or are on a project team

  • Staci Amburgey (demography & inclusion survey team)
  • JJ Apodoca (diversity statement team)
  • Andrew Cantrell (diversity statement team)
  • Becca Cozad (IED presentation team)
  • Andrea Drayer (IED presentation team)
  • Karen Hallberg (demography & inclusion survey team)
  • Kirsten Hecht (social media campaign)
  • Jessica Homyack
  • Jen Lamb (demography & inclusion survey team)
  • Mark Mandica (partner for youth outreach)
  • David Munoz (IED presentation team)
  • Priya Nanjappa (diversity statement team)
  • Alex Novarro (co-chair)
  • Neha Savant (co-chair)
  • Jeramie Strickland (diversity training for PARC leadership)
  • Jen Williams
  • Brian Zarate