Black hiker walking across fallen tree in a forest.

Hameet Singh is part of a team of CPCIL Research and Knowledge Gatherers producing content and compiling resources on themes such as inclusion, ecosocial justice, partnerships, conservation, organizational sustainability, climate change and biodiversity, connection to nature, conservation financing, and ecotourism, to support effective and equitable leadership and inclusion in parks and protected areas across Canada. These positions are funded by Canada’s Green Jobs Program and supported by Project Learning Tree.

In August 2020, Jacqueline L. Scott with University of Toronto, Demiesha Dennis with Brown Girl Outdoor World, Judith Kasiama with Colour The Trails and Rhiannon Kirton with Western University came together in a First Thursday webinar, hosted by CPCIL and co-hosted with Park People and BlackAFinSTEM. In Black Experiences in Parks in Canada, they explore the underrepresentation of the BIPOC community in Canadian parks and protected areas.

After participating in the webinar, attendees had an opportunity to provide feedback and commit actions in order to make parks more inclusive for BIPOC individuals in their respective jurisdictions. Here are their commitments and calls to action:

  1. Make parks welcoming to people of colour by including BIPOC photos in our organization’s webpages and increase representation on social media.

  2. Amplify and raise BIPOC voices to make parks more inclusive spaces.

  3. Make an active and concentrated effort to reach out to and invite Black, Indigenous and people of colour to engagement events.

  4. Look for and connect with local grassroots organizations and communities that are diversifying the outdoors.

  5. Create an anti-racism plan with diversity and inclusion branch of organization.

  6. Push for an internal committee that examines opportunities to learn and create a more diverse and inclusive environment.

  7. Encourage an inclusive mindset that our parks are welcome to all visitors and drill down on the barriers and systemic issues, which prevent visitors from having an exceptional experience.

  8. Create a space to host a campfire circle of BIPOC storytellers for youth to see and hear.

  9. Hire BIPOC individuals for speaker series and as leaders and equipment providers for the outdoor recreation trips and citizen science projects.

  10. Ensure that engagement initiatives intentionally reach out to BIPOC communities and to invite leaders of these communities to partake in Design Advisory Groups for park processes.

  11. Share this webinar and key points on Parks Canada social media.

If you’re a park leader who brought forth one of these commitments, what progress has been made on these actions? If you’re watching this webinar for the first time, what changes can you help make in your own networks or organizations to support inclusivity? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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