The MINRC Committee is pleased to announce the 2016 SEAFWA Diversity and Inclusion Awards winners in the categories of workforce diversity and diversity outreach. The winners, chosen by a small group of volunteers with the SEAFWA MINRC Committee, were judged on their commitment to diversity and inclusion, the effectiveness of their programs, and any partnership developed and used to support their diversity and inclusion goals.
The winner of the workforce diversity and inclusion award is the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), for their outstanding program that seeks to expand the diversity of their workforce. The SCDNR has hired a full time Hispanic Outreach Coordinator who is responsible for educating, both high school and junior high students on the value of conservation and the different careers within the SCDNR. They are also involved in contacting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other universities with the objective of recruiting diverse students for internships, as well as, full time positions. The SCDNR is currently in the process of recruiting two additional diversity outreach specialists to assist their agency with their goal of exposing the broader population to various fields in Natural Resources and assist in sharing career opportunities to create a more diverse workforce.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is this year’s winner of the award for diversity outreach for its Texas State Park Ambassadors program. In 2013 TPWD began engaging diverse young adults, between the ages of 16 and 24, as outreach volunteers whose jobs were to helped design outdoor projects that they felt would interest and inspire their peers. The first year, they help promote outdoor concerts in the parks, produced YouTube videos, social media memes, and other approaches fitting a hyper connected generation. In 2015 the program staff began a 5 day ambassador leadership training program which also serves as a professional development tool for diverse young adults. The Ambassadors have been involved in over 100 millennial focused outreach projects in over half of Texas’ 95 state parks.
Congratulations again to this year’s SEAFWA Diversity and Inclusion Awards winners. Thank you for your efforts to ensure that the management of wild things in wild places are relevant to all people.