Members, donors, friends:
Bur Oak Land Trust stands in support of Black lives, and we write to you to say our staff and board are actively working to build an environment where members of the Black community are welcome and encouraged to engage with nature.
Members of our staff and board were compelled to have difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations following the police killing of George Floyd. The subsequent protests led us to question the idea of personal safety in the outdoors as it relates to race and ask what barriers exist that prevent people of color from visiting our properties. We realized that natural areas are not innately safe and inclusive for people of color, and we acknowledged our role in the lack of minority representation in our organization and the outdoor community we work to develop.
The light will continue to shine on our nation’s collective history of racism, bigotry and oppression, and we will see more examples of the ways Black people and people of color have been discounted or intentionally erased from conversations about the environment and land conservation. We will share these examples with our audience to foster learning and understanding of the ways we as a society need to be antiracist.
As a conservation organization, we believe we are as much a part of the fight for racial equality because we firmly believe that a diverse ecosystem is resilient and strong. The heart of our mission is providing access to natural areas for our community to explore and discover what they love about the eastern Iowa outdoors. The biggest question we’ve asked ourselves is: How can we as an organization support people of color who have an interest in experiencing the natural world?
These are the first steps we’re taking to create change in our organization.
Bur Oak Land Trust staff and board