We are excited to offer this unique opportunity in the Southern Region for U.S. Forest Service employees, partners, and volunteers! Through partnership with the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards (SAWS), the Southern Region is collaboratively hosting a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Partnership Learning Series. The U.S Forest Service and SAWS hold a strong value for, and commitment to, JEDI, interdependence, and safety in all forms. Similarly, the Southern Region strives to lead positive change to offer opportunities for diverse internal and external audience to expand their knowledge and explore opportunities to make a positive difference.
The JEDI Partnership Learning Series offered through our collaboration with The Avarna Group has two distinct components. The first will provide a series of four, one-hour foundational virtual webinar sessions. A description of the webinars as well as registration are listed below. The second component will engage a smaller, cohort-based learning group (approximately 20 agency and partner participants) in five, two-hour, interactive learning modules to take a deeper dive into JEDI as it relates to our conservation work. The cohort is tentatively scheduled for early 2022. We look forward to connecting with all of you on these important and meaningful topics.
Foundational Webinar Descriptions
A series of four one-hour foundational virtual webinar sessions intended for a broad audience. Webinars are free of charge.
The What & Why of JEDI: In this foundational webinar we define basic terms like justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency, and then we lay out all of the reasons why this work (which we collectively call JEDI) is important to organizations, agencies, foundations, and institutions operating in outdoor/placed based education, conservation, land trusts, land management, parks and recreation, environmental advocacy, outdoor engagement, and similar fields. This webinar will help you articulate what you mean when you are talking about JEDI and why it is important to your organization’s mission.
The How of JEDI: In this webinar we review a 4 Quadrant Approach to Planning for JEDI in a way that allows you to celebrate small wins and take one bite at a time. We map out a universe of JEDI strategies on a 4-quadrant framework that frames out internal and external work as well as individual and institutional work. You will leave the webinar with a map that can help you identify priorities for your organization and areas where you need more support.
Introduction to Unconscious Bias: In this webinar we explore the concept of unconscious bias. We facilitate engaging activities to explore our biases, discuss the basic neurobiology of bias, and how we can rewire our brains to mitigate bias. We also talk about how bias manifests as stereotypes and microaggressions. This webinar will build basic understanding around the definition of bias and help participants begin to build awareness.
Reckoning with the Past for a more Equitable Conservation Future: Histories of Systemic Oppression in Conservation: Conservation and environmental organizations have recently begun contending with the racial exclusion and injustice that defined their creation and much of their existence. This session explores conservation history and how it fits into the larger context of social history on Turtle Island (North America). Through a timeline of events through the early 20th century, the session will reveal that despite their intent, conservation was a categorically benevolent force, and in fact harmed Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color across Turtle Island. The session will also highlight a few examples of how conservation organizations have been changing and can change the arc of this history and engage in justice work in solidarity with those who have been most negatively impacted by conservation history.
Cohort-Based Learning Group Descriptions
A series of five two-hour online interactive learning modules used to engage a smaller, pre-determined, cohort-based learning group (20 participants) through various concepts. Cohort is scheduled to start at the beginning of the calendar year. Between each module, an hour of work is assigned to support participant learning (podcast episodes, assessments, readings, videos, etc.). Topics that may be covered include:
- Stereotypes and microaggressions
- Systems of privilege and oppression and how they manifest across various dimensions (ideological, institutional, interpersonal, and internal).
- Exploring how our own identities are related to systemic privilege and oppression.
- How to productively process through feelings that arise when confronted through privilege or experiencing/healing from oppression
- Allyship and accompliceship
- Having difficult conversations related to JEDI
- Colonialism and Conservation