Bringing nature to all; an update on our journey

Pictured above: Sacred Place at Amazing Port Street Garden — Spring fling celebration.

While equity has been core to Nature Sacred’s work since our inception, in recent years, as public conversations around efforts to address historical injustices have grown, we have listened. And we folded what we were learning into our journey as an organization.

It’s this journey that we would like to share here as we reflect and prepare to enter a new year. Progress depends on many things, not least active listening, true self-reflection and action. We continue to commit and recommit ourselves to all three as an organization.

April 2020 — At the time, we had already been working for decades with communities where the effects of disinvestment was expressed in the absence of meaningful access to nature. Our remit has always been to connect people with nature; this is only possible if meaningful nature is accessible. We’ve long witnessed, and worked to address, the inequity in access to nature that disproportionately impacts communities of color as well as other historically marginalized and disadvantaged groups. 

With this foundational work, in spring 2020, we looked inward as an organization, ready to go deeper, to commit more thought, more resources to ensure we are doing all that we can to help drive equity, of all kinds. 

Milestone 1: Forming an external DEI advisory committee & expanding the Nature Sacred team to include a DEI consultant

Understanding that self-evaluations can be limited, our first order of action was to assemble an external DEI advisory committee to help us begin to explore how Nature Sacred could better use our platform and work to achieve a more equitable society. We recognized that part of our work would involve thoroughly examining all aspects of our organization — not just our programming, but our partnerships, fundraising, hiring, communications, etc.

As suggested by our advisory committee, we engaged a DEI consultant to guide this work — beginning in summer 2020. 

Milestone 2: 

We have been working with Eva Vega-Olds as our DEI consultant, who has advised us collectively as a staff and individually by department. We have set goals by department and collectively established specific, quantifiable goals. 

Eva has served as a sounding board, a source of knowledge; she’s helped us interrogate our processes and has been a true partner for us on this journey, which we are still on.

Milestone 3: Our Approach to DEI

Working with the advisory committee, the board and staff, we have developed an organizational DEI Approach. This functions as a key guiding document for our organization moving forward — one that we will revisit, review and update as needed.

As we move into our next 25 years as an organization, we are as committed as ever to ensuring equitable access to nature. We believe that as we continue to evolve as a nation, as a global community, this work will continue to be an important piece of achieving true and lasting equity. We will continue to learn, grow and be a part of this movement.  As always, we remain open to ideas on how we can continue to do our part to further this work.