Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
DCNR works to conserve and maintain Pennsylvania’s public natural resources for the benefit of all people, including generations yet to come.
The department is taking intentional action to:
- Ensure DCNR lands are accessible to all
- Provide inclusive and equitable programs and services
- Recruit and retain a diverse workforce
Why Focus on This as a Conservation Agency?
According to Pennsylvania’s constitution, “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
And yet, there are disparities in who has access to these resources.
Women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community are underrepresented in our outdoor spaces and in conservation organizations.
DCNR’s workforce, similarly, is not reflective of the population of the commonwealth.
As stewards of Pennsylvania’s natural resources, it is DCNR’s job to conserve and maintain them for all the people, including generations yet to come.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work
DCNR has made diversity, equity, and inclusion a central focus over the past several years. There is certainly plenty of work to do!
Some actions DCNR has taken include:
- An ongoing employee training program
- Utilized GIS mapping to improve equity in grantmaking
- Studied park and open space access across the state
- Incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into the daily work of all areas within the agency
In addition, a volunteer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee has been helping to advance this work since 2017 -- both internally for employees and in our public-facing operations.
It is a long journey, but important work to make our parks and forests welcoming to all, across the commonwealth.
Trailhead Welcome Signs
One way DCNR is working to ensure its public lands are welcoming to all is by creating trailhead signs to show all are welcome here.
Simply having a sign does not make it so, but it is a first step to remind everyone in the park or on the trail these are public places open to all.
Have you spotted one in state parks or forests?
Next Gen Council
DCNR is seeking to engage individuals in participation on a council to help inform the agency’s work, solve DEI issues, and create lasting change and necessary conditions to ensure all Pennsylvanians feel welcome on public lands.
The DCNR Next Gen Council will bring fresh perspectives to DCNR by listening to the viewpoints of younger participants.
Input from the Next Gen Council will be used to identify new approaches to DCNR’s programs, facilities, community programs, and other opportunities.
The goal of this input is to help DCNR find effective ways to offer recreation for all and to provide an ongoing communication channel between DCNR and this important segment of current and potential stewards.
Please stay tuned for more information as this exciting new program is about to be launched!