HARRISBURG–Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn has unveiled new “Nature for All” trailhead signs that are designed to represent the department’s commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on public lands.
“These signs are a visible reminder of DCNR’s commitment to conserve and maintain Pennsylvania’s public natural resources for the benefit of all people, as stated in Pennsylvania’s Constitution by way of its Environmental Rights Amendment,” Dunn said. “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will continue to be a critical focus within DCNR so that ‘Nature for All’ is a reality. We must create the necessary conditions to ensure all Pennsylvanians feel welcome on public lands.”
Research has shown that women, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community are underrepresented in our outdoor spaces and in conservation organizations. The signs are a part of DCNR’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy, which seeks to address the disparities underrepresented groups experience in outdoor spaces. Some actions DCNR has taken to address DEI on public lands include:
- An ongoing employee training program,
- Utilizing GIS mapping to improve equity in grantmaking,
- Studying park and open space access across the state and
- Incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into the daily work of all areas within the agency
The new signs will serve as a reminder to everyone at state parks and forests that our outdoor spaces are public places open to all. Working to make the outdoors more accessible for all people is a part of DCNR’s Pennsylvania Outdoor Recreation Plan and the Penn’s Parks for All strategic plan.
“I want to make clear that these signs are a part of concerted efforts to welcome all to public lands at DCNR,” Dunn said. “Our goal is to address the disparities in access to these resources and to build equitable experiences and opportunities for all of our visitors. We are working to implement new approaches, policies, programs and other new ideas within our ranks and through our Next Gen Council.”
The department is also taking internal steps to address DEI within its ranks to incorporate diverse people to help advance a cohesive, bold strategy to meet the conservation, park, and recreation needs of the 21st century. Those actions include providing inclusive and equitable programs and services and working to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.