Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

Nature Vancouver is beginning a new initiative on outreach. We believe that nature is for everyone. 

Our membership has in the past and is now currently mostly comprised of people from the historically dominant and privileged white culture in Vancouver.  Nature Vancouver has been in existence for 105 years; its inception reflected the colonial attitudes of that time. Today, we acknowledge the land and human rights of the indigenous communities that have lived here in a close relationship with nature for thousands of years before the settlers.  Vancouver today is a far more diverse city with residents that have settled here from around the world. We wish to open our doors wider so that nature is accessible to everyone.

This will be an ongoing project for us as individuals and for Nature Vancouver as an organization. We are beginning with two immediate actions; one is to set up a Binocular Lending Library, and the other is to begin a series of field trips called Welcome Walks. We hope that our members will join with us in learning and growing as an organization.

What Are the Barriers

We acknowledge that many people face barriers to participating and learning about the natural world. These barriers can include:

  • Racial, language, gender/sexuality, cultural
  • Mobility, disability
  • Financial, transportation, time
  • Age – children, youth, intergenerational

It important to acknowledge the privilege that many of our members have had historically, racially, and culturally in accessing and enjoying the natural world, whether through hiking, birding, botanizing, camping or even just walking on the seawall. For others, it may not have been a positive experience. Read for example the story of Selwyn Romilly, retired Black 81 year-old British Columbia Supreme Court justice handcuffed and detained in Stanley Park while walking on the seawall. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-police-black-judge-arrest-1.6028148


The following is a description of the first projects that we are beginning with the new initiative:

Binocular Lending Library

As part of its diversity and inclusion initiative Nature Vancouver is creating a binocular lending library. Birding trip leaders will have access to sets of binoculars that they can loan out for the duration of a walk. Our goal is to make birding events more welcoming to new birders, who often show up to walks without optics, as well as being more welcoming to anyone who might find it difficult to afford their own.

Nature Vancouver Welcome Walks Series

The purpose of this inclusive series of walks is to encourage people from diverse communities who may not have felt comfortable to join one of our field trips in the past. Nature Vancouver is reaching out to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) people, members of the Queer community (LGBTQ+, Trans), as well as women. We will also reach out to newer members of the immigrant communities with language focussed walks (eg. Mandarin speakers). To promote inter-generational connections, we will offer family-friendly bird walks.

The first Welcome Bird Walk for BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women to Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary was led by Melissa Hafting on Dec 3rd. Read a Report of the trip by Janet Snell.

Nature Vancouver