DEIJ Community of Practice for Wisconsin Conservation

What is the DEIJ Community of Practice?

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Community of Practice is a network of Wisconsin conservation organizations committed to engaging in and collectively advancing DEIJ work.

Established in 2021, the goal of this Community of Practice is to provide an intentional space to learn together, to set goals for personal and professional growth and improvement, and to catalyze action for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within Wisconsin’s conservation sector. 

We recognize that the conservation field historically has not been inclusive, equitable, or diverse, and we want to take action to change this. This Community of Practice will support organizations with goals such as integrating DEIJ into their operations and programs; making the conservation field more inclusive and diverse; and building relationships with, amplifying the voices of, and supporting the work of communities that have historically been excluded from conservation.

The Community of Practice will allow us to exchange ideas and resources related to DEIJ, while holding each other accountable as we strive to move this important work forward.

Spur Lake State Natural Area in Oneida County, Wisconsin. Photo by Joshua Mayer.

What will we do together?

  • Meetings

The Community of Practice will meet virtually every two months, inspiring participants to keep this important work moving forward. Meetings will provide space for participants to share their experiences, learn and discuss on specific topics, and hold each other accountable. Meetings will be coordinated by the Natural Resources Foundation, and we will rotate which organization leads the meeting and sets the agenda.

  • Continued Learning

The Community of Practice strives to offer continued learning opportunities to keep our broader conservation community learning and engaging in diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Opportunities such as book clubs, presentations, webinars, and more will be offered based on the interest and capacity of participating organizations. DEIJ Community of Practice participants will share responsibility in organizing and moderating these events.

  • Communications

The DEIJ Community of Practice uses a Slack workspace designed to enable participants to communicate with each other. Discussion channels on the Slack workspace allow participants to share ideas, inspiring stories, and resources; ask questions; post upcoming training opportunities, events, job postings, and more.

Our hope is that this Community of Practice will be a starting place for organizations to begin learning from each other and supporting each other in our DEIJ work. We encourage all participants to make the most of this network and find ways to engage that support you and your organization’s DEIJ efforts.

What are my responsibilities as a member of this group?

Members of the DEIJ Community of Practice are expected to actively participate in meetings and take turns leading meetings and/or organizing continued learning opportunities. We expect participants to commit to and actively work towards their organization’s own DEIJ goals and use this group to support those efforts, doing work in between meetings. The accomplishments of the Community of Practice depend on the engagement and involvement of participating organizations, and we hope you will join us in putting in the effort to make positive changes for our conservation sector!

How can I join?

Participants in the Community of Practice include staff, board members, volunteers, and other representatives from Wisconsin conservation, natural resource, and environmental education organizations. Some groups may choose to delegate a point person to participate on behalf of the organization, but we welcome anyone who commits to actively participating and engaging in the Community of Practice.

To join the DEIJ Community of Practice email list and our Slack workspace, fill out this form. You will receive email updates for meetings and invitations to participate in the Community of Practice.

If you have any general questions about the Community of Practice, you can send them directly to Caitlin Williamson, Director of Conservation Programs with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin.

We hope you join us in this important work!

Coordination Team Members

Participating Organizations

Aldo Leopold Foundation
Aldo Leopold Nature Center
Aldo Leopold Nature Preschool
American Farmland Trust
Clark County
Clean Lakes Alliance
Conservation Strategies Group
Cream City Conservation
Dane County
Driftless Area Land Conservancy
Eau Claire Area School District
FIELD Edventures
Foundation for Dane County Parks
Gathering Waters
Golden Pine Co.
Groundswell Conservancy
High Marq Environmental Charter School
House in the Wood
Ice Age Trail Alliance
Indian Community School
International Crane Foundation
Iowa County
Iowa State University
Kellogg PEAK Initiative
Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve
Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership
Landmark Conservancy
Lawrence University
Madison Audubon
Marinette County Land Information Department
Mayes Wilson Associates
Michigan Technological University
Milwaukee Parks Foundation
Natural Land Institute
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
Northland College
Northwoods Land Trust
Office of Outdoor Recreation
Pheasants Forever

Portland Audubon
River Alliance of Wisconsin
Rock River Coalition
Sand County Foundation
Schmeeckle Reserve
Teacher-Powered Schools Network
The Nature Conservancy
The Wildlife Society-Wisconsin Chapter
TransCenter for youth
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum
University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension
University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension
University of Wisconsin-Madison Nelson Institute
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
University of Wisconsin-Superior
Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center
Upper Sugar River Watershed Association
Urban Ecology Center
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service
Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters
Wisconsin Association for Environmental Education
Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – State Parks, Trails, and Forests
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Wisconsin Forestry Center
Wisconsin Master Naturalist
Wisconsin Society for Ornithology
Wisconsin Wetlands Association
Wisconsin’s Green Fire
Woodside Elementary
Zoological Society of Milwaukee

Cait Williamson

Cait Williamson

Director of Conservation Programs

(608) 409-3109 extension 1009

Cait oversees the Natural Resources Foundation’s grant programs and initiatives for conservation and environmental education, working closely with partners across the state to ensure that our Foundation has the most significant impact possible on Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife through strategic, science-based investments.