Celebrating Pride Month and Diversity in Conservation

Natural ecosystems are strongest and most healthy when they are diverse, and so is the conservation movement. June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month and for the first time the National Wildlife Federation marched in the annual Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the Federation’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

Staff representing the Federation’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia, and our National Advocacy Center in Washington joined staff from other conservation organizations in the first-ever “Out for the Environment” contingent at the Capital Pride Parade.

The first ever Out for the Environment contingent at Washington D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade.

We’ll also be marching and sponsoring the Annapolis Pride Parade in Annapolis, MD on Saturday, June 29.

The National Wildlife Federation strives to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all elements of our work and with our partners to support the interdependent needs of wildlife and people in a rapidly changing world. To live up to our values of collaboration, empowerment, inclusivity, mindfulness, and a focus on our mission, we believe:

  • We are better collaborators and will only achieve our mission if our staff and partners reflect the full diversity of our country, including but not limited to: race, gender, ethnicity, sexual identity, socio-economic status, age, ability, religion, and political philosophy.
  • We can carry out our work with greater mindfulness and inclusivity if we recognize the social, economic, and political contexts that shaped the early environmental and conservation movements, and resulted in cultural biases that permeate our institutions today. Only by understanding and addressing these biases will we justly and equitably engage with one another while pursuing our conservation goals.
  • We work more effectively by empowering staff, affiliates, members, and partners to support and ensure that this commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice is incorporated into our vision, organizational structure, budget, and work.
  • We recognize the urgency of this work and are committed to the ongoing changes that are necessary to fully incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice into our structure and values to fulfill our mission.

There is much work to be done to fully support and engage the LGBTQ+ community in conservation but in order to achieve our mission and ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world, the National Wildlife Federation believes we must all work together.

National Wildlife Federation Naturalist David Mizejewski (center) was joined by colleagues Stephanie Gagnon and David Lavis at the Capital Pride Parade in D.C. Photo: Stephanie Gagnon / NWF

We want to ensure the outdoors are a welcoming and safe space for all people to connect with nature, including those who identify as LGBTQ+, and we are committed to a culture of inclusion internally, so our many staff who identify as LGBTQ+ are safe and feel supported in our work throughout the country. In addition to participating in Pride events this year, we’ve sponsored and participated in the LGBTQ+ Outdoor Summit since its inception.

Only together can we save wildlife.

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