There is a dire need in traditional conservation work for more diverse voices. Just as big picture environmental issues affect us all, so should those engaged be representative of the demographics of the continent. The Salazar Center hopes to help create that space, forging new connections to improve the long-term health and resilience of landscapes and people.

The Challenge

Conservation is only as effective as the stakeholders who are engaged in it, and indigenous peoples and people of color have historically been excluded from the conversation. A more inclusive set of constituents—whether individuals, communities, or organizations—is needed to ensure that conservation work reflects and benefits many different interests.

Our Approach

We support diverse, emerging, and historically ignored conservation voices by including as broad and varied a group of interests as possible in everything we do. We seek out and amplify voices often left out of conservation work in the past, as well as the perspectives of youth. By engaging and growing a more robust constituency, we can also more effectively identify shared interests and create new and better opportunities for dialogue, community building, and leadership training.

To date, the Center, in partnership with the Network for Landscape Conservation, has released a report exploring how values of diversity, equity, and inclusion have strengthened landscape conservation projects across the United States. The report was followed up by the “Pathways to a Just and Equitable Future” forum.

Currently underway, the Center is also offering an “Elevating Voices” scholarship for CSU students. The program was designed in partnership with the Colorado chapter of the Next 100 Coalition to provide mentorship and hands-on learning opportunities related to conservation, storytelling and film production.

“Activating and mobilizing the next generation of advocates and thought leaders is essential to the future of conservation in North America. The Salazar Center is poised to not only make connections across political and landscape boundaries, but to dramatically diversify the voices who participate.”

Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director, The Outdoor Foundation