A promise for diversity, equity and inclusion

Credit: Ralph Earlandson

Dear TWS Members:

Last month, The Wildlife Society made a promise to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in everything that we do. As President of TWS, I intend to keep that promise. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had an opportunity to read through the thoughts, ideas, and concerns you shared with TWS in response to our message on racial injustice and inequality and spoke with many of you about the challenges facing underrepresented groups in the wildlife profession. One thing became clear, TWS must change if we’re to cultivate a profession that is truly welcoming to all.

I’m deeply appreciative of the feedback that we’ve received so far and encourage you all to continue sharing your perspectives so that I may learn from you and so that together we can develop a positive and meaningful path forward for the Society and the profession. While I’m encouraged by the passion and momentum that I have seen from individual members, staff, and leadership, I encourage everyone to join me in taking these next steps to build a more equitable TWS. We all have a role to play.

As we continue to strengthen our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within TWS and the wildlife profession, I wanted to provide an update on some existing and upcoming opportunities for engagement:

  • Learn about TWS’ current diversity, equity, and inclusion resources, initiatives, programs, and communities at wildlife.org/dei.
  • Consider getting involved in the Ethnic & Gender Diversity Working Group or TWS Council Diversity Subcommittee. Contact Jamila Blake for more information.
  • Participate in Wildlife Vocalizations (or nominate your peers). Wildlife Vocalizations are short personal perspectives from people in the field of wildlife sciences. Each featured wildlifer will answer one question that reflects on the past and looks toward the future, providing a voice that shows we are not alone. These stories will be woven together through the common theme of passion, ingenuity, tenacity, and perseverance and be featured on the TWS website and other communication channels.
  • Help us develop a Black Lives Matter symposium for the upcoming TWS Annual Conference. Organized by TWS members Ken Wilson, Tricia Fry, Tracy Melvin, Jamila Blake and I, we would like to encourage Black TWS members to present their experiences as a wildlifer and as a member of TWS with the goal of elucidating the good, the bad, and tangible ways forward. Please email Tricia Fry if you are willing to participate as a speaker or to share your thoughts.

I want to hear from you. I want to hear your stories, concerns, advice, and questions. Please reach out to me directly at Gary.White@ColoState.edu. Together we can make The Wildlife Society a place where all are welcome, supported, and celebrated. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Gary White

President, The Wildlife Society