Envisioning Equity in Environmental Nonprofits, May 20

A photograph behind the video camera where Rosie Sanchez is being interviewed.
Rosie Sanchez is being interviewed for the Elevating Voices documentary, courtesy of Carlos Malache.
  • BIPOC individuals support environmental protection at a higher rate than white people
  • 36-42% of the U.S. population are BIPOC, but only 16% of environmental nonprofit staff are BIPOC, and only 12% of those individuals are in leadership positions.

Join Rocky Mountain Wild and Next 100 Colorado to explore how we can make environmental organizations more equitable, inclusive, and just.

We’re meeting in person, but if you can’t make it, we’ve also provided some resources below for you to participate from wherever you are.


A huge thank you to our Envisioning Equity in Environmental Nonprofits Day partners:

Next 100 Colorado logo

Join us for a film screening and affinity group space, including Next 100 Colorado’s inaugural BIPOC Affinity Group!

Join us for a screening of the Elevating Voices documentary, a short panel, and Affinity Group time to discuss how we can show up for equity in the environmental nonprofit world.

Following the documentary screening and short panel, attendees will be invited to join two break-out group sessions. One session will be for white allies and accomplices to discuss how they can show up and build equity in their workplaces and the environmental nonprofits they navigate. The other session will be the inaugural Next 100 Colorado BIPOC Affinity Group session!

We will have snacks, delicious empanadas from Oh My! Empanada (all gluten-free with vegan and vegetarian options), and drinks, but please feel free to bring your own food if you need something more substantive.

For everyone’s safety, we ask that all attendees be fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the event.

When: 11:00 am-1:30 pm, Saturday, May 20
Location: Environmental Learning for Kids, 12680 Albrook Dr., Denver, CO 80239
Registration: This is a free event, but space is limited. Register to save your spot.

About the Documentary

Chris being interviewed for the Elevating Voices documentary

The Salazar Center for North American Conservation’s Elevating Voices program provides tuition support, plus mentorship and hands-on learning opportunities related to inclusive conservation, storytelling, and film production to CSU students. 

During the inaugural year of the program, selected students were awarded $2,000 each and had the opportunity to learn a range of technical and artistic skills related to filmmaking and visual storytelling. These students worked as a film crew with professional filmmakers and cinema equipment to produce, shoot, and edit a short documentary. 

The Elevating Voices documentary, created by CSU students with the mentorship of Next 100 Colorado, builds powerful narratives that explore the role of diversity in the conservation movement.  The film highlights the experiences of Coloradans working toward conservation who have traditionally been marginalized in that space. 

Watch the trailer:

About the Being in Right Relationship Panel

The “mainstream” environmental and conservation movement is rooted in colonialism, forced removal, and white supremacy culture, and this film considers what it would mean to challenge the predominant narrative and approach. This short panel will discuss how allies showing up to build right relationships in community might look like, how a conservation ethic might shift towards more equitable models, and what they wish, hope, and dream for their fellow BIPOC colleagues in this work.

About the White Ally and Accomplice Group Session

White allies and accomplices will be invited to share how they envision they can show up for this work in the spaces they navigate. A facilitator will help guide the conversation.

About the BIPOC Affinity Group Session

Some environmental and outdoor nonprofits and groups in Colorado have enough employees, and employees of color, to create affinity groups or employee resource groups to share joy, struggles, resources, and ask for assistance navigating the spaces they are in. These groups help employees not feel alone while helping the employer with recruitment, retention, and help to provide support for marginalized employees.

Some environmental nonprofits and groups in Colorado don’t have that kind of support, and some have only one marginalized employee. This can lead to isolation and a lack of people power in situations when having a “second” would help in bringing inclusion and equity issues to the forefront. In some cases, it can cause BIPOC talent to leave the environmental nonprofit sector altogether in search of spaces that more readily accept, protect, and celebrate them.

To help both groups of people, and whoever may need it, Next 100 Colorado has created the BIPOC Affinity Group to provide a space to share joy, share struggles, request support, and learn together. We will host the inaugural meeting during this event!

Can’t make it? Here are some other things you can do:


  • Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center – providing adaptive sports programs to individuals including adaptive winter ski and snowboard programs at Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain Ski Resorts, and summer programs on local rivers, lakes, bike paths, and an adaptive ropes course.
  • Brown Folks Fishing – a community-based organizations that is by and for BIPOC anglers. They cultivate a community, build a movement to expand access, and participate in storytelling, grassroots organizing, events, and community-building.
  • Colorado Blackpackers – providing gear, outdoor excurisions and outdoor education for free or at subsidized costs and connecting participants with volunteer opportunities, internships, jobs, and post-secondary education resources to create a pipeline from outdoor recreation to outdoor industry careers.
  • GirlTrek: Healthy Black Women and Girls – pioneering a health movement for Black women and girls grounded in civil rights history and principles through walking capaigns, community leadership, and health advocacy.
  • Defiende Nuestra Tierra – increasing the baseline knowledge of public lands and hteir management, expanding Latinx participation in public lands management processes, and focusing on specific concerns of local Latinx communities.
  • Disabled Hikers – building disability community and an outdoors culture transformed by fair representation, accessibility, and justice for disabled and all other marginalized outdoors people.
  • Diversify Outdoors – promoting diversity in outdoor spaces where people of color, LGBTIQA2+, and other diverse identities have historically been underrepresented.
  • Environment Americas – connects diverse people to birds and nature and inspires the next generation of conservationists by connecting diverse people to nature and to the protection of birds and their habitats.
  • Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) – reaching out to students who have been traditionally overlooked and under-encouraged in science and science-related careers, most notably, youth of color, LGBTIQA2+, and girls.
  • Green Latinos – convening a broad coalition of Latino leaders committed to addressing national, regional, and local environmental, natural resources, and conservation issues that significantly affect the health and welfare of the U.S. Latino community.
  • Greening Youth Foundation – engaging underrepresented youth a nd young adults, while connecting them to the outdoors and careers in conservation.
  • Hispanic Access Foundation – helping Latinos build their financial literacy, explore new workforce opportunities, become environmental stewards or advocate for one’s health.
  • Inclusive Outdoors Project – hosting events that bridge the gap between affinity spaces and outdoor based organizations to grow culturally cohesive practices and spaces within the greater outdoor narrative.
  • Latino Outdoors – inspiring, connecting, and engaging Latino communities in the outdoors and embracing cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative, ensuring our history, heritage, and leadership are valued and represented.
  • Native Womens Wilderness – inspiring and raising the voices of Native women in the outdoor realm to encourage a healthy lifestyle within the wilderness and provide an education of the Ancestral Lands and its people.
  • Next 100 Coalition – an inclusive vision for the next 100 years of conservation and stewardship in America.
    • Next 100 Colorado – committed to the establishment of a just and inclusive parks and public lands system.
  • Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project – ensuring that marginalized communities have access to the outdoors and that our history, values, and people are authentically reflected in public lands management.
  • Outdoor Afro – celebrating and inspiring Black connections and leadership in nature.
  • Outdoor F.U.T.U.R.E. – building momentum for the creation of a national equity fund that will ensure long-term investments in programs to serve all youth with opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
  • Outdoor Asian – creating a diverse and inclusive community of Asian and Pacific Islands in the outdoors.
  • Outdoorist Oath – an action-based commitment to planet, inclusion, and adventure. It offers tools/education for inquiry, a shareable education model, and the hub for a community that cares to build a better future.
  • People of the Global Majority in the Outdoors, Nature, and Environment (PGM ONE) – PGM ONE envisions a world that centers, values, uplifts, and empowers those who are most impacted by environmental harm and climate change—and in particular Black, Indigenous, and people of color/of the global majority—to lead the way toward environmental justice and collective liberation.
  • Radical Adventure Riders – a movement towards gender inclusivity and racial equity in cycling and the outdoors.
  • Rising Routes – elevating diverse communities and collaborating with partners to spark public action toward social and environmental resilience.
  • Sierra Club Outdoors for All – expanding universal access to nature for children and youth, as well as empowering veterans to continue their service in protecting the land they defend.
  • The Venture Out Project – leading backpacking and wilderness trips for the queer and transgender community.



Responses coming soon.

Responses coming soon.

Listen and Watch:

  • “The Challenge of Diversity in the Environmental Movement.” Dr. Dorceta Taylor, the Senior Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Yale School of the Environment, reads her poem about being black in the environment and the environment movement, which is animated in this video. CW: a loud shot, anti-Blackness, anti-Black violence, threats, murder, and murder by police. (9 minutes)
  • “Belonging in the Outdoors Roundtable.” In this live roundtable, marginalized Coloradans discussed why they do or do not feel invited, welcome, or safe recreating in Colorado’s public lands, working in the environmental or outdoors industries, or participating in community science without critical mass; how those that do began to, and what those who don’t need to. The panelists for this event were Amber Mohammad Castańeda (she/her), Coal Creek Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, Andrea Cota Avila (she/her) from Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, Chris Talbot-Heindl (they/them) from Rocky Mountain Wild, Crystal Egli (she/her) from Inclusive Journeys, and Robbin Meneses (él/he/him) from Latino Outdoors, Colorado Team. (112 minutes)
  • “CommuniTy Science: One Trans Person’s Trip to Loveland Pass to Study Pikas.” In it, Chris Talbot-Heindl (they/them) talks about why they avoid going out into nature by themself as a trans nonbinary individual. And how their accomplice Megan Mueller (she/her) took them out to Loveland Pass to study pikas and complete a pika survey! (24 minutes)
  • Belonging: An Outside Voices Podcast Mini-Series. “Belonging” features four individuals who identify as immigrants or first-generation, and shares stories about their personal and cultural connections to the outdoors. Featured in this mini-series: Noami Grevemberg, Francis Mendoza, Pınar Sinopoulos-Lloyd, and Dr. Cristal Cisneros.
  • Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman reads “Talking Gets Us There” (2 minutes)
  • PBS Kids Talk about Race and Racism (28 minutes)
  • PBS Kids Talk about Standing Up for Yourself & Others (11 minutes)

Join us for the rest of the Colorado Endangered Species Week events!