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Conserving wildlife habitat, agricultural and forest lands, scenic open space, wetlands, and shorelines for the benefit of our community and as a legacy for future generations.

Land Trust News

Work to Be Done

In the summer of 2019 the Trust created a Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee to help the organization take steps to make Skagit Land Trust’s work and land more inclusive of the wide range of people who live and work in Skagit County. There is much work that we still need to do. Below are a few of the things the Trust has been working on to increase inclusion in the mission of the Trust.

Q. What steps is Skagit Land Trust taking to increase representation of people of color in the Trust's work?

A. The Trust needs much better representation on our board of directors from the broader community. We have made that a goal - and not just a token goal. Our governance committee has been directed to make it a priority. Racial injustices stem from inequalities in power - and so we know it is important to get many more diverse voices in leadership positions at the Trust. Our membership is clearly vast majority caucasian. Although our intent has been good, we are not yet positioning ourselves to be attractive to diverse communities in a way that makes a difference. We have a lot to learn. We know words are the easy part, we are committing to action.

Q. How is Skagit Land Trust reaching out to people of color in the Skagit community and involving them in local conservation?

A. For many years the Trust has worked to connect local youth and their families with nature close to home through our Conservation Classrooms program. This program brings students and their teachers out to Trust properties to learn on the land. Close to 50% of students in Skagit school districts are Latinx or Hispanic. Our hope is to create positive experiences with nature and conservation; planting the seeds of a life-long love of the outdoors. (see the article on Conservation Classroomsnfrom our 2018 newsletter)

The Trust has also partnered for many years with the Kulshan Creek Neighborhood Youth program. which works to bring youth and their families from majority Latinx and Hispanic communities out on monthly field trips to introduce young people to the special natural places of the region they live in. The program is a partnership between U.S. Forest Service, Catholic Housing Services, Mount Vernon Police Department, North Cascades Institute, and Skagit Land Trust, The Trust was planning on hiring two high school interns from the Kulshan communities to assist with the program when Stay Home orders were put in place. We are hopeful the program can move forward in the year to come. (see the article on Kulshan from our 2017 newsletter)

Q. How is Skagit Land Trust working to increase the diversity of those working in the conservation field?

A. The Trust’s internship program provides training for students looking at a career in conservation and the environment. Students from Huxley College of the Environment and Skagit Valley College’s Environmental Conservation program have worked on an array of projects with the Trust. Our most recent intern, Chris Williams from Huxley College, spent the fall and winter focused on accessibility to Trust lands, and physical and culture barriers that might deter members of our community from visiting. Through this work we were able to develop Spanish language resources for our sites that will hopefully make our lands more welcoming to many in our community.

We also collaborate extensively with WA Conservation Corps and EarthCorps crews to accomplish stewardship on our properties. These programs, which offer field experience for young adults between 18-25, draw people from across the country and provide mentorship for people of color looking to take their first steps in a career in the conservation world.
(see the articleon Investing in the Future of Conservation from our 2019 newsletter)

Q. How is Skagit Land Trust ensuring diverse communities have access to nature and the outdoors?

A. We are working to make access to nature easier for people of color. For example, the plan is to make our Barney Lake Conservation Area (near Skagit Valley College) accessible to the surrounding communities. Many of the Kulshan Creek Neighborhood Youth program apartments are within walking distance to this conservation area. We realize it is important to get these neighborhoods and their leaders involved in developing that access so it better meets their needs. We will also continue to seek guidance for including place-based statements on our signage and interpretive information - especially Native American statements and history.

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