Announcements from the May 2021 Chapter Meeting

Highlights from the May 2021 Chapter Meeting

The Announcements
View the full set of May announcements by clicking here.  Please note the new Affinity Group opportunities and changes to volunteer service. With so much going on, only announcement highlights were presented at the chapter meeting. More opportunities and contacts, websites, and other details are available in the announcements.

Important COVID-19 return to service update: NTMN face-to-face activities for certain training and service in groups up to 10 are back in place. Details here.

Highlights of the meeting

 A special treat for joining the Zoom meeting early: the Camera Roll for May featured your outdoor activity photos from this winter and spring. You’ve been busy! Thanks to everyone who submitted photos – please keep them coming.

Congratulations on 1st Quarter Achievements and Awards: Julia Koch – 250 Hour Milestone, Alan Lusk – 1000 Hour Milestone, and Ginger Greatens – Quarterly Volunteer Award Winner.

Diversity and Inclusion at North Texas Master Naturalist

 This month was something of a departure from our usual training on things scientific as we took an evening to look outward at the communities we serve and look inward at how we are evolving to become more diverse and inclusive.

Many thanks to David Buggs, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for leading us through this conversation and sharing his common-sense perspective.

David began by laying the groundwork for the value Texas Master Naturalists provide to any community, how effective interaction creates positive change for our natural resources. Taking us through Texas and DFW demographics, he explained how we are a minority-majority region. Our median age trends much lower than the nation and our fastest-growing population is Asian. Turning to race/ethnicity/gender/age in our chapter, it is clear that NTMN today does not look much like the community we serve.

His presentation then centered on five key premises:

  • Natural Resource conservation has been and is key to the enrichment of the people, environment and economy
  • North Texas Master Naturalist volunteers have done a great job providing education, outreach, and natural resource management to certain communities
  • Environmental changes, shifts in our recreational and consumptive habits have made varied perspectives more important to our conservation efforts
  • Actions to promote Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are increasingly important to the sustainability of natural resources, our people, and our economy
  • Our challenge is how we engage the changing demographic in more outdoor activities – how we become relevant to this growing population without losing current participants and supporters.

David led us through typical perceived barriers – budget, committee capacity, and knowledge of how to make D&I work and focused an underlying issue: it’s hard to solve a problem till one owns being part of the problem. Doing this work requires mindfulness of our personal and cultural expectations, how we see other groups, egocentricity, and defensive emotions/discomfort/fears.

An interactive cultural agility assessment helped us see where we stand, rating ourselves on these statements:

  • When I work on a project, I prefer to work with people from different cultures.
  • If conflict arises with others outside my culture, I am open to different views.
  • When it comes to knowing how to cope with cultural diversity, others would say I’m very knowledgeable.
  • In my spare time I choose to learn about other cultures.
  • When conversing with someone from another culture, I deal successfully with ambiguity and differences.
  • In my daily life, I change the way I interact depending on the cultural backgrounds of those in the group.

David showed how to become more culturally agile and to lead adaptive change. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, being intentional, and being authentic are effective approaches. He closed with guidance on how to improve D&I in our chapter – making this a priority, holding ourselves accountable, creating a compelling message, intentionally inviting diversity, and not over scrutinizing.

Some Key Quotes: “Diversity is about everybody, not just one group.” and “Do you want to be comfortable or better?”

Further Information:

The Nature of Americans Study
Outdoor Afro
Latino Outdoors
Outdoor Asian

HECHO
Journey African American Outdoor Sports Association
Diversity and Inclusion at TPWD

Recording: The video of this presentation has been posted here.
The password is diversity.

Thanks to our guests and members for participating in this month’s meeting. I hope all feel welcome at NTMN.

Take care,
Scott Hudson
President
North Texas Master Naturalist

 

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