Nicole Cropper; California Department of Fish and Wildlife; nicole.cropper@wildlife.ca.gov;

Abstract: California is the largest and most diverse state in the nation with the fourth largest economy in the world. As the state works towards mitigating the impacts of climate change, drought, wildfires, and other threats to our natural resources, considering the impacts of these threats to diverse populations has become imperative. Despite the plethora of equity and diversity statements, and commitments to include a variety of voices in environmental decision-making, successfully implementing equitable practices such as reducing implicit bias in the hiring process to diversify the conservation workforce remains operationally challenging. This presentation will provide reasons on why embedding equity remains a challenge and provide a framework that organizations can use to begin the process of centering equity into all policies, processes, and actions. Using the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s efforts to integrate equitable principles into its work culture and external activities, this presentation will discuss the challenges and available opportunities for organizations to shift conversations about equity away from superficial statements into action. To achieve the state’s drought, wildfire resilience, and natural resource protection goals, CDFW has started to include equity as a core component in funding requirements, species management plans, and sensitive species decisions. This attention both fulfills CDFW’s mission AND gives voice to the most polluted and under-resourced communities to improve overall outcomes for all.

JEDI Session (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)  InPerson Presentation