Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Our Work

We cannot succeed in protecting the lands, waters, night skies, and communities of the Hill Country if we are not engaging with the full diversity of the communities we aim to serve.

We recognize there are numerous groups and communities within the Hill Country that we have not historically engaged, and for whom our reach and impact have been limited. We also recognize that there are systems of power that grant access and privilege unequally across lines of race, gender, age, class, language and ability. Ignoring those inequities, the factors that lead to them, and our own shortcomings will prevent us from ever being truly successful.

As a community-centered organization, it is our responsibility to actively seek out connections and partnerships. HCA is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion-based solutions that promote healthy natural resources and thriving communities for ALL Central Texans.

Read on to explore some of our resources, relevant updates, and recent news on equity in the outdoors and the broader conservation movement.

Texas Hill Country Conservation Network: Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee

The Hill Country Alliance is proud to serve as the backbone organization for the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network, a partnership of dozens of organizations focused on maximizing the protection of natural resources. Following the summer protests of 2020, the Network began having conversations on what role our collaborative plays in ameliorating or perpetuating racial and other injustices.

Learn more about the Network’s DEIJ work.

HCA Resource Spotlight

As we seek to build a vibrant future for the communities and natural resources of the Hill Country, it is critical that we do so in a way that engages with and reflects the full diversity of the region. Across the 17 counties of the Hill Country, there are many groups, organizations, and individuals working to engage our communities in important conservation work, one person at a time.

The Power of Storytelling

This panel from the 2022 Hill Country Leadership Summit discusses the various ways that storytelling can be used to connect across dividing lines, inspire beyond education, and drive change through meaningful calls to action.

Panelists: Juan Martinez-Pineda, Fresh Tracks and The Aspen Institute; Maria Rocha, Indigenous Cultures Institute; Katy Baldock, Fin & Fur Films;  Vanessa Torres, LBJ National Historical Park

Moderator: Leah Cuddeback, Hill Country Alliance Storytelling and Public Engagement Manager

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Conservation in the Hill Country: Why it Matters and Where to Start

This panel explores why diversity, equity, and inclusion are important for the conservation movement broadly, and how organizations can start or continue their journeys to be diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Panelists: David Buggs, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Sapna Mulki, Water Savvy Solutions; Rocío Villalobos, City of Austin Equity Office; Emily Warren, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

Moderator: Vanessa Escobar, Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Conservation District and Hill Country Alliance Board Member

Cultivating a Hill Country for All: Inspiring Stewardship, Conservation, and Communication

This panel spotlights some of the groups working to spread positive messages of conservation and stewardship and examines what it takes to connect and inspire the hearts and minds of diverse, young audiences across the region.

Panelists: Justine Salsbury, Shield Ranch Foundation/El Ranchito Summer Camp; Amelia DeVivo, Austin Youth River Watch; April Sansom, Bamberger Ranch; Josie Gutiérrez, San Antonio Chapter, Latino Outdoors; Alex Bailey, H. E. Butt Foundation
Moderator: Leah Cuddeback, Hill Country Alliance

Additional Resource Spotlights

Recent Equity in the Outdoors News

A look to the future of Texas State Parks

Andrew Sansom got his first job in 1959 as a lifeguard at Lake Jackson Municipal Pool in his hometown about 55 miles south of Houston. Little did the 14-year-old know the job would set the stage for a lifelong career in parks administration and environmental...

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