RMFI is committed to building a diverse organization and community that is inclusive of people from all backgrounds regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status.
RMFI is committed to creating an environment for volunteers, staff, board, partners, and community that attracts and engages all people, regardless of difference, access to resources, or historical representation in our work, to be part of the RMFI community. We believe that an environment of inclusiveness and respect promotes engagement, excellence, and positive change as well as enriches our mission of building community and healing the land. Moreover, we have a moral obligation to work toward a more just, equitable society and just as diversity strengthens the ecosystems we steward, diversity will strengthen our own community.
In December 2020, RMFI's Board of Directors approved the organization's first DEI Plan to guide the organization for the next several years as it strives to become a more inclusive and diverse organization, both internally with staff and programs, and externally with the community we engage. Specific goals and initiatives included in the plan are detailed below.
DEI & RMFI
In RMFI’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, the organization made a commitment to building a diverse community of staff and volunteers that includes people from all backgrounds, perspectives, identities and ideas.
The word diversity means all of the attributes, backgrounds, cultures, identities, ideas, and experiences that each of us bring wherever we go. We recognize that these differences may also come with certain biases. Biases like whether women can do heavy work as easily as men. Or whether older people can get as much done or whether people of color are welcome in the outdoors. Even biases that do not seem to relate specifically to trail maintenance can impact the effectiveness of our staff and volunteers. We also recognize that access to the wilderness and to public lands has not always been equal. It’s not always meant the same things for different people. It’s been less safe for some than others. We respectfully acknowledge that we occupy and work on land originally and continually inhabited by the Ute people and, later, by people of the Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and other tribal nations. The different histories of different peoples on this land means that we each bring with us a set of attitudes, feelings, and assumptions that can affect how we work together.
RMFI understands equity and inclusion to be true moral and behavioral obligations. For us, equity and inclusion are part of working toward a more just and equitable society. Diversity in our teams and organizations will strengthen us and strengthen our community.
RMFI DEI PLAN: 2021-2024
Organizational Goals & Strategies
Goal 1: Engage people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds including youth, families, people of color, LGBTQ, and seniors in RMFI’s stewardship work.
Strategy 1: When able, structure stewardship opportunities in a way that makes them more inviting to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.
- Offer a minimum of 4 half-day stewardship opportunities each year that are local; easily accessible; non-technical; and suitable for youth, families, and others.
- Continue offering stewardship opportunities every day of the week rather than only on weekends.
- Investigate a more culturally appropriate name for RMFI’s “volunteer” stewardship opportunities.
- During the morning orientation and safety talk on volunteer workdays, include an acknowledgement of the importance of DEI to RMFI, how that will be reflected in the workday, and an acknowledgement of the history of the land on which the workday is taking place.
- Offer 2-3 projects each year that are focused on engaging specific groups that have traditionally been underserved (i.e. female identifying only).
- Make more projects accessible to those without personal transportation.
- Do more projects locally, in urban areas, or in areas accessible by public transportation, and indicate accessibility on the project schedule.
- Make a reasonable effort to facilitate carpooling.
- Integrate and adapt new community engagement efforts (i.e. welcome email, post-project emails, etc.) into outreach for specific groups.
- Prepare culturally appropriate and relevant educational resources to utilize on the workday to enrich the overall experience for participants.
Strategy 2: Utilize more effective marketing and outreach methods to reach new audiences.
- Utilize photographs that are representative of our region’s diverse population, but avoids tokenism, to show that stewardship is an activity that can be undertaken by all.
- Utilize appropriate and relevant verbiage to describe stewardship opportunities so they are better understood and inviting to potential participants.
- Actively seek out partnerships with nonprofits and other groups who specialize in serving unique populations. Learn from these groups to better understand the unique challenges and opportunities for each.
- Continue our work with Generation Wild and other initiatives to engage underserved youth and communities in hands-on environmental stewardship and outdoor education efforts.
- Where possible, create Spanish language outreach materials, waivers, project details, etc.
- Add a symbol on our online volunteer and event calendar to better denote projects that are more accessible to and appropriate for youth, families, seniors, those living with physical disabilities, and others.
- Include as part of the volunteer registration process voluntary questions to collect information on sex/gender, race, and ethnicity. Track and analyze these data each year to better understand the demographics of RMFI’s volunteer base.
- Highlight projects and partnerships on RMFI’s website, social media channels, and monthly e-newsletter as well as local news outlets and radio stations.
Goal 2: Create an organizational culture that celebrates and recognizes diversity; that prepares staff and leadership to engage diverse groups; and where all individuals feel comfortable sharing their own perspectives and experiences.
Strategy 1: Build knowledge and competency of staff and Board members around DEI issues.
- Offer annual implicit bias training mandatory for all staff members and open to Board members as part of spring staff training.
- Support attendance at the annual Colorado Nonprofit Association Nonprofit Day Conference as well as other relevant training for staff and Board members.
- Collaborate on relevant training opportunities with other partner organizations and nonprofits (i.e., Colorado Springs Parks Department, U.S. Forest Service, Catamount Institute, etc.).
- Share online resources, articles, presentations, and others with staff and Board.
Strategy 2: Make reasonable efforts to ensure staff and Board members reflect the diversity in our community.
- More broadly post and share job opportunities to ensure non-traditional applicants are aware of the opportunity and have a chance to apply. Examples include Camber Outdoors, Pikes Peak Workforce Center, Conservation Jobs, Generation Wild, Southeast Express, and others.
- Emphasize in recruitment and outreach materials that we welcome and encourage candidates with a diversity of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives.
Black Lives Matter
On July 7, 2020, RMFI shared the following statement across all of our communications platforms in response to the killing of George Floyd and the many other racial injustices.
"Rocky Mountain Field Institute stands with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and condemns the systemic racism and violence that have been part of their experience for the last 400 years. We are aware of the historic disparities in accessibility and use of public spaces and natural areas. We support a community where our open spaces are a welcoming, safe, communal space for all, and the stewardship of those spaces is a collective endeavor."