Photo: Byron Dudley.

Equity Commitment

The Deschutes Land Trust is committed to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization. This Equity Commitment is the commitment we make to our community to changing the way we work.

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The Deschutes Land Trust believes in an inherent connection between all individuals and the natural world. Since our founding, we have prioritized the urgent need to protect natural areas for wildlife and other natural functions. Today, we are recognizing and addressing the ways that conservation is necessarily linked to issues of social justice. By overlooking this connection until now, we understand that we have excluded the voices, participation, and values of marginalized and underserved community members at the expense of other worldviews, priorities, and forms of knowledge. This also means that we have not engaged with our broader community or realized our full potential to conserve land and resources for future generations.

We recognize that with the shortcomings of our past come opportunities for a better future. Committing ourselves to fostering a more culturally-responsive, inclusive, and equitable organization will require hard work and significant changes at the Land Trust, both at the individual level and in the way we work as a team of staff and board members.

Becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization is an indefinite process that requires much more than words, which can feel hollow to the communities and individuals they purport to serve. This process will undoubtedly be imperfect, but within that imperfection, we can still make concrete commitments that demand accountability.

Deschutes Land Trust Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals

In 2022 we embarked on an internal equity assessment through a holistic audit of our organization that measured equity and inclusion through data and personal accounts from staff, board members, partners, and community members. From that process we have adopted the following organizational goals for 2023 and 2024:

  1. Use an equity lens to root equity into all policies and systems. This includes our bylaws, strategic plan, conservation strategy, and stewardship work.

  2. Expand cultural community partnerships. While the Land Trust works with dozens of community partners each year, we will endeavor to work with and lift up new partners whose perspectives and engagement will make our work better and more impactful.

  3. Refine our employment process to improve staff diversity, retention, capacity, and professional development. We want to better reflect the community we serve.

  4. Embed equity training for staff, board members and volunteers. We want our team to reflect our values in their work and interactions with our communities. We seek to reduce bias and increase awareness across our organization.

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