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Diversity Pathways: Broadening Participation in Environmental Organizations

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This document presents the findings of a study that examines programming in environmental organizations. The goal is to find out (a) how many institutions have diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) pathway programming; (b) what kinds of programs exist; (c) where are organizations with diversity programs located; and (d) what kinds of support existing programs provide. We analyzed 1039 environmental organizations and found diversity pathway programs in 173 (16.7%) of them. Of those, 138 (13.3%) of the institutions have one pathway program, while 35 (3.4%) of them have two or more programs. In all, we found a total of 235 diversity pathway programs. We found a wide variety of programs in urban and rural areas that catered to a range of demographic groups. We will attempt to identify gaps in programming and suggest future courses of action.

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... The benefits of a diverse workforce have been well documented, as demographically diverse groups are likely to be more innovative than homogenous groups (van der Vegt, 2003). However, while employment in environmental fields grows, women and Latinx, Black, and Indigenous people remain underrepresented in these professions (Taylor, 2018c). ...
... Many organizations have established environmental pathway programs to prepare participants from underrepresented groups for the 'next step' toward a career in environmental fields. In one report, of 1039 environmental organizations studied, 17% offered diversity pathway programs targeting a variety of age groups (Taylor, 2018c). Other environmental pathway programs are developed through partnerships between school districts and universities. ...
... Such programs may provide learning experiences for elementary through high school students to develop interest prior to these students determining their career path. Some of the strengths and gaps of environmental organization pathway programming have been identified; for example, while there exist programs to target participants of all racial, socioeconomic, and gender identities, and while 23.4% of programs have a leadership or career development component, post-program support is generally lacking across these programs (Taylor, 2018c). ...
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We conducted interviews with non-formal environmental education programs aimed at K-12 student participants to: 1) understand the current objectives of non-formal environmental science-focused K-12 diversity pathway programs; 2) learn techniques used to recruit and engage participants with the ultimate goal of advancing them along an environmental science diversity pathway; and 3) identify current evaluation approaches used by environmental science-focused K-12 diversity pathway programs to evaluate program effectiveness and recruitment techniques. This review reveals that while several programs target particular underrepresented demographic groups, program objectives are not always aligned with increasing diversity in the field or retaining those participants in environmental science careers. Additionally, findings demonstrate a lack of statistically validated participant recruitment strategies, teaching methods, and program evaluation techniques. We discuss the implications of these findings for K-12 environmental science pathway program stakeholders. We also offer areas for future research in environmental education programming and methods for evaluating program effectiveness.
... Informal E-STEAM education programs can provide a means to increase equity and accessibility of E-STEAM learning experiences and to integrate more experiential, place-based, and culturally-sustaining instructional approaches that make E-STEAM learning inclusive and motivating for diverse student populations (National Research Council, 2009). In particular, diversity pathway programs (programs that seek to facilitate historically excluded students' navigation of their E-STEAM career paths) are most effective in broadening participation when multiple pathways of exposure and engagement are used, such as coupling academic opportunities, mentoring, internships, community action projects, career exposure, and networking [Ilumoka et al., 2017;Taylor, 2018;Taylor et al., 2018;Morales and Jacobson, 2019; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), 2019]. Additionally, studies have demonstrated how historically excluded students' success rates increase significantly when they have access to mentors of the same race or ethnicity [Ong et al., 2011;Taylor et al., 2018; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), 2019]. ...
... In particular, diversity pathway programs (programs that seek to facilitate historically excluded students' navigation of their E-STEAM career paths) are most effective in broadening participation when multiple pathways of exposure and engagement are used, such as coupling academic opportunities, mentoring, internships, community action projects, career exposure, and networking [Ilumoka et al., 2017;Taylor, 2018;Taylor et al., 2018;Morales and Jacobson, 2019; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), 2019]. Additionally, studies have demonstrated how historically excluded students' success rates increase significantly when they have access to mentors of the same race or ethnicity [Ong et al., 2011;Taylor et al., 2018; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), 2019]. These approaches positively impact E-STEAM self-efficacy, attitudes towards E-STEAM issues, perceived rewards of E-STEAM careers, and social support for pursuing E-STEAM careers [Quimby et al., 2007;Ilumoka et al., 2017; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), 2019]. ...
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The environment, science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics fields (a collection of fields we call E-STEAM) continue to grow and remain economically and ecologically important. However, historically excluded groups remain underrepresented in science and technology professions, particularly in environmental and digital media fields. Consequently, building pathways for historically excluded students to enter economically viable and ecologically influential E-STEAM professions is critically important. These new pathways hold promise for increasing innovation within these fields and ensuring a multiplicity of representation as these fields are shaped and reshaped to attend to the plural interests of diverse communities. Consequently, this conceptual paper describes an eco-digital storytelling (EDS) approach to engaging historically excluded populations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This approach offers structured learning opportunities connected to learner interests and community needs with the aim of increasing E-STEAM identity and career interest of teens from groups historically excluded from E-STEAM fields. E-STEAM identity is a meaning one can attach to oneself or that can be ascribed externally by others as individuals interact and engage in E-STEAM fields in ways that foreground the environment. The EDS approach leverages community-based action, technology and digital media, and arts and storytelling as entry points for engaging learners. EDS is designed to increase teens’ content knowledge within multiple E-STEAM fields and to provide numerous technology-rich experiences in both application of geospatial technologies (i.e., GPS, interactive maps) and digital media creation (i.e., video, animation, ArcGIS StoryMaps) as a way to shape teens’ cultural learning pathways. Examples of rich digital media presentations developed to communicate the EDS approach and local environmental opportunities, challenges, and projects are provided that exemplify how both participation in and communication of environmental action can contribute to more promising and sustainable futures.
... In making their arguments, Krupp, Norman, and others who suggested that minorities were not interested in the environment, did not provide any evidence to support their claims. They were also ignoring studies of ethnic minority students and other people of color that show strong interest in working in the environmental workforce [15][16][17]. By the time environmental justice activists penned the letter to the New York Times and the big green groups, people of color had formed grassroots environmental groups all over the country. ...
... Consequently, studies continue to show that people of color are interested in working in environmental nonprofits [10,17,[19][20][21][22]. People of color reject the disinterest thesis and argue, instead, that there are structural factors such as poor recruitment, discrimination, cultural isolation, lack of mentoring, and limited promotions that contribute to the low levels of ethnic minorities in the environmental workforce [22]. ...
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There has been a scholarly interest in the demographic characteristics of American environmental organizations since the 1960s, but until recently there was no readily available way of knowing the composition of the staff or board of these institutions as few revealed any of their demographic data publicly. For the past five years, there has been a high-profile campaign to get environmental nonprofits to disclose their demographic data. This paper examines 12,054 small, medium-sized, and large environmental organizations to find out how many of them have released diversity data on GuideStar. The article also examines how the state in which organizations are located, region of the country, urban or rural setting, organizational typology, amount of revenue, size of the staff, size of the board, gender of the chief executive officer (CEO), race of the CEO, and the year of completion of the GuideStar profile influenced the disclosure of diversity data. The researchers collected financial data from Internal Revenue Service tax forms and diversity data from GuideStar. The study found that 3.7% of the nonprofits studied divulged diversity data. However, organizations in the Pacific and Mid-Atlantic regions were most likely and nonprofits in the South least likely to report diversity data. Urban nonprofits were more likely to divulge diversity data than those located in the suburbs or in the rural areas. The highest level of reporting was in Washington, D.C. In addition, environmental justice organizations were more likely to disclose diversity data than other types of organizations. The larger the staff and the higher the revenue, the more likely it is that the organization divulged its diversity data. Organizations with female CEOs were more likely to reveal diversity data than male-headed nonprofits. Environmental organizations with ethnic/racial minority CEOs were also more likely to disclose demographic data than organizations with white CEOs.
Since the early 2000s, academic research on equity and justice has become an increasingly integral component of transportation planning and policy-making. Less research, however, has focused specifically on the intersection of equity, justice, and active transportation (i.e. cycling and walking). This Viewpoint builds on some of the key concerns and barriers associated with active transportation for disadvantaged groups, especially but not exclusively in relation to planning culture and processes, policing, harassment and racism, and gentrification and displacement. We investigate how issues of equity and justice can worsen the conditions that often prevent or diminish one’s capability or desire to engage in active transportation. By providing a better understanding of the deep intersectionalities of equity, justice, and the physical and social barriers to active transportation, our hope is that this Viewpoint helps to improve how such barriers can be recognised and overcome, and the opportunities for change can be understood, centred, and implemented at the policy and planning level.
In recent years, diversity advocates have organized a national campaign aimed to get environmental organizations to reveal data on the demographic characteristics of their institutions publicly. Environmental organizations are urged to be more transparent and put their data on GuideStar (renamed Candid). Past research indicates that as of 2018, less than 4% of the organizations have done so. Still diversity and transparency campaigns focus on the disclosure of data on Candid. Despite the push to get environmental nonprofits to disclose their demographic data, scholars and diversity advocates have not investigated if and how organizations are collecting and revealing demographic and other types of diversity data. This article addresses this gap in our knowledge about the collection and disclosure of diversity data by environmental institutions. The article reports the findings of a national study of 516 environmental organizations that analyze the following questions: (a) To what extent do environmental nonprofits collect diversity data? (b) What kinds of diversity data do organizations collect? (c) Why do organizations collect or refrain from collecting diversity data? (d) Where do organizations disclose their diversity data if they collect any? The data reported here was collected in 2018. The study assessed if organizations collected data on 12 different diversity metrics. The study found that 31.4% of the nonprofits collected or tracked data on at least one metric. The nonprofits are also more likely collect data than to divulge them. That is, 25.8% of the organizations said they shared data on at least one diversity metric. The results show that a much higher percent of organizations collect and reveal data than are currently disclosing such data on Candid. The research also found that organizations are more likely to collect data on their boards than on their staff and the nonprofits are more likely to share diversity data with funders and their boards than any other kinds of external or internal sources. The findings suggest that in crafting diversity and transparency campaigns, more attention should be paid to the kinds of data that organizations do collect, as well as where and how they reveal such data.
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An extensive body of environmental psychology, outdoor recreation, and landscape preference research reports that blacks are alienated from nature, fearful of it, and prefer urbanized and developed landscapes to wild or natural environments. But, are these responses and preferences as widespread as reported? Most of the studies in these genres focus on black–white differences. This article provides a more complex analysis by incorporating an environmental justice framework in the assessment of the ways in which blacks, whites, and other minority college students reflect on and think about nature. It also examines how they perceive their connectedness to nature, their curiosity about nature, and their landscape preferences. The participants are students taking part in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programming at a large public midwestern university, a mid-sized private university in the mid-Atlantic region, and a small historically black university in the deep south. The sample of 157 participants contains 46 whites, 43 blacks, and 68 other minorities. None of the respondents say they are disconnected from nature. Most say that, first and foremost, they think about trees, forests, and plants when they think of nature. The study found that black students prefer naturalistic landscapes more than urbanized settings and their perceptions of nature and landscapes mirror that of students of other racial and ethnic groups. None of the study respondents reported a generalized fear of nature either. Instead, students expressed situational fear, object-specific dislike, and simultaneous contradictions when viewing landscape images.
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Environmental institutions have been working on diversity efforts for the better part of five decades. This report discusses the findings of a study of three types of environmental institutions: 191 conservation and preservation organizations, 74 government environmental agencies, and 28 environmental grantmaking foundations. It also reports the findings of interviews conducted with 21 environmental professionals who were asked to reflect on the state of diversity in environmental institutions. The study focuses primarily on gender, racial, and class diversity in these institutions as it pertains to the demographic characteristics of their boards and staff. It examines the recruitment and hiring of new workers as well as the types of diversity initiatives undertaken by the organizations. The report also discusses other kinds of diversities such as cultural, sexual orientation, inter-generational, and rural-urban.
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The report examines the status of diversity in 2,057 American environmental nonprofits. It explores the extent to which organizations report their demographic characteristics and diversity activities on the GuideStar reporting system. The report analyzes the period from 2014 to 2016.
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One view of minority opinion on environmental issues suggests that minority voters are focused on less esoteric concerns such as education, jobs, and crime. An alternative argument is that minorities, many of whom live proximate to the sources of pollution and environmental degradation, are actually more concerned. Focusing here on Latinos, we argue that minority concern about environmental issues is endogenous to the nature of the issue and has changed over time. Specifically, we suggest that increasing environmental awareness among minorities has led Latinos to become more sensitive to environmental issues than their white counter-parts over time, but that this difference is manifest only on issues of proximate concern to Latinos and not on more abstract environmental principles. Pooling Field Polls in California across a 21-year span, we model support for various pro-environment positions among Latino, African-American, and non-Hispanic white respondents. We find considerable empirical support for the dynamics of growing minority environmental concern among Latinos, but only weak evidence for a similar trend among African-Americans.
"An important, controversial account ... of the way in which man's use of poisons to control insect pests and unwanted vegetation is changing the balance of nature." Booklist.
We compared representation, career backgrounds, recruitment, job skill requirements, job advocacy, and opinions on natural resource careers and strategies of majority- and minority-group natural resource professionals to improve minority representation in the profession. We sent a mark-sense questionnaire to 938 majority-group and 955 minority-group natural resource professionals employed by the member state and federal agencies in the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Response rate for the minority group was 52%, compared to 71% for the majority group. Sampling error was ± 4% at the 0.95 confidence level for both groups. Differences (P ≤ 0.05) existed between groups in all of the categories of comparison. We provide several strategies for expanding cultural and ethnic diversity in the natural resources workforce.
Membership in the conservation movement appears to be composed largely of upper-middle class occupations, especially professional occupations. In addition, it is primarily an urban-based movement that is somewhat isolated ideologically from the main streams of both liberal and conservative political thought. Data are presented on the members of a large Pacific Northwest outdoor recreation and conservation association. Further, the patterns of membership of conservationists and nonconservationists in other associations are explored to determine the relative levels of activity of these groups in voluntary associations generally as well as in particular types of other associations. The data suggest that, although conservationists frequently belong to a very large number of voluntary associations, they appear to isolate themselves structurally by concentrating their civic activities in the conservation field.
There is has been strong interest in the state of diversity in the environmental field for some time now. Recent studies have shown that gender diversity is progressing at a faster pace than racial diversity. This article reports on data collected from 324 mainstream environmental organizations in 2014. It examines gender and racial diversity in six different types of environmental organizations - general conservation organizations, freshwater organizations, environmental education centers, environmental consulting organizations, environmental policy institutes/think tanks, and professional conservation and trade associations. The study found that though females exceed males on the staff of environmental organizations, women are underrepresented in the top leadership echelons of the institutions. The study also found that minorities are underrepresented in all ranks of the staff and leadership of environmental organizations. The successes women have had in being hired into the environmental workforce and being promoted to leadership positions are not being replicated for minorities. In addition, the study examined a seventh type of organization. It examined 13 environmental justice organizations and found high levels of gender and racial diversity in them. The study identified factors such as cultural insensitivity, reluctance to hire minorities, failure to promote minorities to leadership positions, ineffective recruitment strategies, and poor mentoring as conditions retarding racial diversity efforts.
This study, intended largely as a replication of the research reported by John C. Leggett in his Class, Race, and Labor, is a methodological contribution to the measurement of class consciousness among American workers, and an analysis of the independent variables that explain variation in the class consciousness measure. The data for this research were collected during 1974 in a statewide Wisconsin sample. A conceptual analysis of class consciousness suggests four major levels of that consciousness: class identification, class action, militant egalitarianism, and capitalist change orientation. Attitudinal measures of these levels or stages of class consciousness are discussed and then combined into a Likert scale for purposes of empirical analysis. We then examine the gross and net effects of a variety of variables assumed to be causally related to working class consciousness: union membership, generation, skill level, family income, and size of place of residence. Methodological caveats regarding the applicability of cross-sectional investigations of the dynamic, dialectical process of the formation of working class consciousness are offered. Finally, the implications of these results for the literature on working class consciousness are discussed.
The purpose of this feature is to introduce activists and organizational and environmental scholars to a relatively unknown segment of the early American conservation movement. The authors focus on the period around 1900, a time in which birds were being slaughtered at an alarming rate, in part to supply milliners who used plumes and other bird parts to decorate women's hats. These practices led to a grounds well of opposition that eventually turned the tide in favor of bird protection and appreciation. They also formed a foundation for today's activism on behalf of beleaguered birds. One of the key figures leading this movement was Mabel Osgood Wright. Wright is only now beginning to receive the recognition she deserves, as is the case for many women of this era who made major contributions to the conservation movement. The authors highlight three major projects to which Wright devoted her energy (the early Audubon Society, children's nature writing and education, and the Birdcraft Sanctuary) and discuss them as institutional manifestations of the early conservationists' birdloving philosophy. The authors also reprint three of her important publications. The authors believe that the reprints provide relevant insights for contemporary environmental protection and organizing.
In the past, social psychological and cultural theories have been used to explain why blacks display lower levels of environmental concern than whites. The article argues that the environmental concern gap that exists between blacks and whites can be better understood by exploring the gap that exists between concern and action. In addition, several factors that influence the existence of an action gap, and the extent to which black groups can be mobilized around environmental issues, are identified. They are (1) level and type of affiliation with voluntary associations, (2) political efficacy, (3) recognition of advocacy channels, (4) access, (5) acquisition of social prerequisites, (6) psychological factors, (7) collective action, and (8) resource mobilization.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Project Green Reach (PGR) is a children's program that has offered garden-based youth education since 1990. PGR focuses on Grade K-8 students and teachers from local Title I schools who work in teams on garden and science projects. In this exploratory study, the authors used field observations, document analysis, and past participant interviews to investigate PGR's program, model informal science education, and document the influence of the program on urban youth. In all, 7 themes emerged: (a) participants' challenging home and school environments, (b) changes in academic and interdisciplinary skills, (c) changes in science and gardening skills, (d) increased environmental awareness, (e) social and personal growth, (f) a positive life experience, and (g) the cultural significance of the program.
In the years 1886-1889, George Bird Grinnell, conservationist and editor of Forest and Stream, founded the Audubon Society and edited The Audubon Magazine. During this period he encouraged women to contribute to both journals and enlisted their help in saving avifauna by halting the wearing of bird feathers in hats. In so doing he helped to bridge the gender divide in conservation. A gendered dialectic emerges during the 1880s-1900s that moves back and forth between male and female blame and responsibility, to female activism, and finally to women and men working together to reenergize the Audubon movement, form Audubon societies, and pass laws to halt the trade in feathers and preserve birdlife.
There is growing interest in diversity in the environmental field. The issue has become more pertinent as country undergoes noticeable demographic changes. Researchers have been interested in diversity for sometime too. This chapter traces the evolution of research on diversity and the environment. It discusses the results of new studies examining students' attitudes toward their work in environmental organizations as well as their salary expectations. The chapter also analyzes the demographic characteristics of the leadership of environmental institutions as well as their hiring and recruiting practices.
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