Thank You For Following Along with Black in Nature: Tackling Diversity in Conservation

We hope you enjoyed following along with our Black in Nature: Tackling Diversity in Conservation series during Black History Month.  Thank you to Toni Mosley, the Zoo Keeper who pitched and spearheaded this project, for her innovation and effort in bringing the series to life. 

Toni will close out this series with some remarks reflecting on the project: 

I would like to say thank you to Reid Park Zoo and our President & CEO Nancy for giving me a platform to bring local attention to the need for diversity and representation in conservation. Diversity is essential to the success of any organization. How can one connect with a diverse community when no one representing them are making the big decisions? Through diversifying leadership roles in the conservation profession, we can begin to create and reclaim spaces for those whose rightful claim to these positions has been denied.  

Black in Nature: Tackling Diversity in Conservation addresses the lack of diversity in conservation. It is a simple title for such a personally impactful project. To tackle, implies blunt force, determination and effort. This is what it took for each professional in this series to navigate through an inequitable workforce system to make it to where they are today. 

Connecting with other Black conservation and animal care professionals has shown me that I am not alone in my struggles or successes. The Black community within the conservation field is small, but we are connected through our similar experiences and love of nature. Through these connections, we now have the ability and responsibility to give the next generation of Black nature lovers and future professionals the role models so many of us lacked in our early years. 

Diversity is imperative to our current conservation efforts and to the next generation tasked with taking over those responsibilities. One of the most rewarding aspects of this campaign has been hearing stories from colleagues of Black children noticing faces that look like them throughout the Zoo. One colleague shared with me the time he saw a young Black girl run over to a poster, point to my face, and then point at herself with a big smile. This is one of the moments that has made Black in Nature: Tackling Diversity in Conservation worth the effort.