Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory

Our Pledge to Listen and Learn

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In recent days, we have seen dramatic examples of our society’s systemic racism, which is often either ignored or denied. The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory recognizes that the Black Community is both publicly and silently subjected to terror and brutality far too often, and we stand with those who are calling for justice and accountability. We stand especially with the community of Black birders. Black Lives Matter. 

We acknowledge that the field of conservation too often has excluded people of color and failed to address their concerns fully. The science we practice is intended to benefit all people, but for that to happen we need to be much more inclusive, to hear more voices from more segments of society. 

We are a small organization, and we know we don’t have all the answers, but we are listening and learning. We recognize that it is our responsibility to join with others in doing more to fight inequality, injustice and violence, to speak out when we see hatred, and to recognize the harm that bigotry does to our communities.

We challenge everyone to join us in working against racism, as racism defies the basic human rights of all people of color. We pledge to ensure that our policies, actions and events promote and support inclusivity. To those ends:

  • We will employ our social media to recognize the valuable contributions made to conservation by people of color, work that too often has been overlooked and minimized. 
  • We will strive to reach and engage more communities of color in Observatory educational and outreach activities.
  • We will seek to collaborate with other organizations to support events like #BlackBirdersWeek that celebrate Black nature enthusiasts.
  • We will continue to reach out to students of color through the young professionals track of our annual Western Great Lakes Conservation Summit.
  • We will continue efforts already underway to recruit a more diverse board of directors to guide our way forward.

We also promise to look for additional ways to include more and to hear more, and we welcome your comments and suggestions as we do so. Please feel free to share them at .