Resources for racial justice, anti-racism, and allyship in the outdoors

Resources for racial justice, anti-racism, and allyship in the outdoors

Conservation Northwest / Jun 11, 2020 / Justice Equity Diversity Inclusion

We seek to use our platform to elevate the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in conservation, and hope these resources are helpful

The Communications team at CNW has taken the last two weeks, both at the individual and organizational level, to educate ourselves, reflect on our deep, internalized biases, and listen to the voices, demands, and experiences of Black Americans. This work is a continuous process, and will not stop once #BlackLivesMatter is no longer “trending”, but we’d like to share some of the resources we’ve found helpful.

Black Lives Matter. We stand with Black Americans, Indigenous Peoples and all People of Color (POC) on behalf of racial justice and in opposition to systemic oppression. First and foremost, the resources below are ways you can help victims of injustice, protestors, and organizations working to dismantle systemic oppression and advance justice, equity, and inclusion, as well as support local Black-owned businesses, Indigenous and POC groups.

*Conservation Northwest does not take credit for or ownership of any of the following materials. We have compiled them on our website to use our privilege and platform to share information with the conservation community. Additional resources and or feedback is welcome, please contact Many of the resources listed here are from a more comprehensive list of ways to help that has already been created and widely shared:

Sign petitions for victims of racial injustice

Donate to racial justice organizations

Support Black-owned businesses

Resources for anti-racism and allyship

While we have long prioritized Indigenous and POC representation on our Board of Directors and Board of Advisers, and have a history of partnering with, supporting and hiring Indigenous staff and contractors going back to our roots as a small Bellingham-based org working with the Lummi Nation, we acknowledge that a majority of our staff is white.

To be better allies, we must commit to anti-racism, acknowledge our inherent biases and educate ourselves and our community.

Here are some resources for white and non-Black POC on allyship and anti-racism. CNW is deeply grateful to the authors who have put in the time and effort into compiling and making them available:

Local POC-led environmental organizations

Racial justice and a healthy, thriving planet are inextricably linked. Below are some local POC-led organizations who are working for the environment and the people. Please learn more about their programs and support their efforts:

Articles on being Black in the outdoors

Right now, white folks and non-Black POC have the responsibility of reflecting on how we’ve played a part in the systemic racism and injustice that exists in America, particularly in regards to Black communities, and how we can work to dismantle those systems moving forward. As a historically white-led conservation organization, it is our responsibility to use our privilege to amplify the voices of the Black community in this moment, particularly in the context of the outdoors and environmental work, and continue to amplify them even after protests subside.

Most people in our Conservation Northwest community support our mission for their love of Pacific Northwest wildlands and wildlife. But we must understand that the outdoors has not always been a welcoming, safe space for Black people and POC. The following articles describe some of the harmful experiences Black folks have had in nature and the environmental field:

Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led environmental media

In response to the recent racism Black birder Christian Cooper experienced in Central Park, a group of Black folks in STEM formed the group BlackAFinSTEM (give them a follow on Instagram and Twitter!), and kicked off a social media initiative called #BlackBirdersWeek to help spread the message that diversity in the outdoors exists, and nature is meant to be enjoyed by everyone. Check out this compilation episode inspired by #BlackBirdersWeek, featuring 30 Black scientists in the popular podcast, “Ologies”!

The white-dominant voice in outdoor and conservation media contributes to the myth that Black and POC folks don’t do “outdoorsy things”. Allies should listen to and help amplify voices other than their own. Taking great inspiration from #BlackBirdersWeek, here are some Black, Indigenous and POC-led media around conservation, environmentalism, and our relationship to the earth:

Outdoor groups for Black, Indigenous and People of Color

One huge barrier to non-white folks getting outside is the false notion that the outdoors is a white space. The following groups are resources for Black, Indigenous and POC folks to find community in the outdoors:

We have a lot of work to do. Conservation Northwest staff will continue to listen and learn from Black, Indigenous and POC voices, as well as educate ourselves on actions we can take (or stop) to make our community inclusive until the outdoors is welcoming and safe for all.

We hope you find these resources helpful, and welcome your feedback or suggestions.

North Cascades National Park, Mt. Shuksan and Picture Lake in the fall. The outdoors is for everyone, and we’ll continue our work towards Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion until outdoor spaces are welcoming for all.