Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The DVOC is committed to attracting and engaging a diverse membership as we encourage people of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientation, physical abilities, religions and beliefs and socio-economic or other backgrounds to embrace birding and nature. Racism and discrimination in America remains systemic. We see this reflected in the limited participation by people of color in our programs and birding generally. The DVOC condemns racism and all forms of discrimination. That is an easy statement to make, but more difficult to put into action. We recommit ourselves to the ongoing and sometimes difficult task of translating our words into action. Here is what we are doing:
- We are committed to creating a safe and inclusive space for all people to join as members and participate in our programs and field trips. Our meetings and field trips are free and open to all.
- Our BirdPhilly initiative focuses on trips within the Philadelphia city limits in collaboration with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy. Through this effort, we have exposed hundreds of residents to birding and nature, who are representative of the demographic make-up of the city.
- Our New Bins for New Birders program supplies new, serviceable binoculars to organizations that expose young people of all backgrounds to birding and nature.
- Our Youth Birding Initiative offers discounted membership to young birders and provides programs that introduce young people to birding and nature. Through this effort, we hope to attract the next generation to nature and instill a life-long passion for nature.
- Our Birding Backpacks program offers a kit of resources available through the Philadelphia Free Library system to city residents who want to begin to go birding. The kit includes binoculars, a field guide to area birds, a map of places to go, and contact information so they can connect with BirdPhilly and DVOC. Many city residents may have financial or other difficulties obtaining these resources, so by making them available through the Library, we are striving to reach Philadelphia residents that are unable to obtain these resources through any other means.
We understand that these initiatives are only a start and we need to do better. We encourage current and prospective members to help us in our efforts to eliminate racism and enhance diversity in the birding community.