The Nature Based Education Consortium (NBEC) operates in Wabanaki territory in the region known as Maine. We are a collaborative multi-generational network of youth, educators, outdoor learning advocates, and impassioned community members working together on systems-level efforts to ensure that every youth has equitable access to powerful outdoor learning experiences.
NBEC recognizes that the sector of outdoor learning–and intersecting fields such as education, conservation, government, and more– uphold historical and ongoing systems of oppression. Systems of white supremacy, colonization, economic exploitation, ableism, adultism, ageism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of oppression have actively silenced, excluded, and exploited Black, Indigenous, People of Color, poor and working class folks, LGBTQ2IA+ folks, immigrants, people with disabilities, youth, and more–and continue to do so.
We name these systems to recognize their varying impact on youth in our region, their families and communities today. This helps us to identify where our efforts will be most impactful and who has the knowledge and experience to best speak on and make decisions about system level efforts. NBEC recognizes that our network is in a position of power and has the responsibility and opportunity to advance equity in the outdoor learning sector. We do this by:
Centering those impacted the most by the systems we are trying to change–structurally, in leadership and in decision-making. This means active investment in youth leadership, and structures that support youth decision-making for the network. In 2022, NBEC is restructuring the groups that make decisions to reflect this commitment.
Intentionally building and improving spaces that empower Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and youth voices in decision making
Ensuring, to the best of our ability, that financial restrictions are not a barrier to participation. We provide stipends for involvement, for those who would not be able to be involved in NBEC otherwise.
Actively creating a culture of belonging for people of all genders, sexual orientation, age, race, and other targeted identities, recognizing and working to remove power imbalances. Grounding each meeting in the Ways of Being is one step toward building this culture.
Evolving our understanding of indigenous perspectives to create reciprocal collaborations with native communities
Creating spaces to review our processes and evaluate our commitment to equity. One way to do this is a potential upcoming culturally responsive outside evaluation of equity within NBEC.
This is not an exhaustive list and we acknowledge that incorporating these practices of equity in our processes and initiatives is an ongoing learning process. We consider this a living document, and we welcome and encourage feedback.
Drafted by Anthony Jackson, Equity & Organizing Coordinator in May of 2022
With collaboration from NBEC working group leaders & participants in spring of 2022