I’ve spent my life exploring this country’s wild spaces. Hiking alone, exploring nature’s wonders and listening to birds has brought me comfort and peace for decades. My primary concern in those moments has always been that our wild spaces will disappear and that future generations won’t have the opportunity to listen to the sweet songs of birds in the spring. The events of the last month, specifically the killing of Ahmaud Arbery as he was out jogging and the harassment of Chris Cooper while he was birding in Central Park, have highlighted for me how vastly different my experience is as a white male experiencing the outdoors than it is for African Americans in this country.
The mission of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust is to engage communities in conserving, caring for, and accessing the natural lands and waters that sustain our region. We believe that all members of our community should feel welcome and safe on the trails, in natural areas, on the streets and in their homes. There is a historical and systemic problem in our country that must be addressed immediately.
Just like the Land Trust was started with a few individuals who cared about preserving our wild spaces, we believe that the change starts with us. Over the last few years, the Land Trust has been working to be a more inclusive organization and truly represent the diversity of communities in our region. We have embarked on this journey with humility, knowing that we’ll make mistakes along the way. We remain committed to learning from those mistakes. This is not a diversion from our focus of protecting and stewarding natural lands and water. Rather, this is a vital step for us to take to do this work better now and into the future. We hope you’ll join us on this journey.
I invite you to visit this page on our website to find out more about our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all our work. Please don’t hesitate to call me with any questions you may have.
Chelan-Douglas Land Trust Executive Director