For too long many of us in conservation have failed in our responsibility to look squarely at historical inequities and frame our work in a way that recognizes these injustices.
As Heart of the Rockies Initiative works to ensure connected habitat and working lands for people and wildlife, we do so with an understanding that conservation is inextricably linked with justice and equity. In order to make a difference in the field of conservation, we must continually explore and address our own individual biases and improve organizational culture.
We also acknowledge that individual awareness and internal cultural change, alone, have a limited impact. We see a need to also take concrete actions to ensure our programs are truly inclusive and use our region-wide sphere of influence to make a positive difference for oppressed and marginalized groups in the conservation community.
We are currently finalizing a document that communicates a deliberate justice, equity, and inclusion (JEI) plan that supports our mission and addresses our organizational blindspots.
We celebrated Heart of the Rockies 20th anniversary in October 2022. We celebrated the incredible conservation and community work of our many land trust members, landowners, partners, and supporters. Below are the opening remarks (slightly edited for clarity) for the celebration, which were given by Bray Beltrán.