by Ginger Greatens, Class of 2017
If you do not follow the official North Texas Master Naturalist Facebook page, you may have missed some of the interesting and fun posts.
Over the past few months we have celebrated the rich history, cultural heritage, and traditions of many different cultures while highlighting their relationship and connections to nature.
As we continue our journey towards becoming a more inclusive and diverse chapter, we want to learn to see nature through the eyes of others; to acknowledge, appreciate, honor and respect the contributions of diverse cultures and different groups towards preserving, protecting and promoting nature.
Here are some highlights:
Park Rangers Attracting New Visitors
According to 2020 Census data, Hispanics make up 18% of the U.S. population, that represents 62 million people. However, data collected by the National Park Service in 2018 found that less than 5% of park visitors were Hispanic less than 2% were Black and only 5% were Asian. These figures demonstrate that there is a disconnect with communities of color and “America’s Greatest Idea.” Meet some of the Park Rangers working to change that: The women featured in the photo above, and Miguel Marquez & Cam Juarez.
Philippines Program at BRIT
The Philippines archipelago contains unique floral and faunal diversity that is critically threatened by habitat loss, with only 3-7% of original habitat remaining. To address the urgent need for further documenting this diversity in the face of impending large-scale species extinction, Dr. Peter Fritsch is working with colleagues from the U.S. and the Philippines on a four-year project to document the land plants and lichens of the southern Philippines through a series of large field expeditions and subsequent taxonomic study.
Helping Tell Native American Stories to a New Generation
To help share and preserve the diverse traditions that make America so unique, the National Park Foundation supports programs that connect tribal communities to the important stories of this land’s indigenous people, places, and events. For many students, a visit to a national park is a way to learn more about their culture and heritage. Native American culture is rich in oral histories and many parks continue that tradition through their park programming. Read more here.
The Diversity and Inclusion team will continue to share important stories of people making a difference on our Social Media channels. Stay tuned!