Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice

Building a Culture of Equity and Inclusion

The Chesapeake Bay watershed is 64,000 square miles, includes parts of six states and the District of Columbia, and is home to a diverse population. Ensuring that the restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed are inclusive means considering the needs and perspectives of all members of the diverse communities. We know that creating accessible and intentional engagement results in sustainable solutions and lasting support in our communities.

We prioritize this commitment within the organization’s programs and internal structure, making equity and inclusion integral in our policies, board of directors, staff, strategic goals, and program delivery.

The Alliance welcomes people of all backgrounds regardless of race, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, veteran-status, socio-economic status, gender variance, or sexual identity. We recognize that diversity is an asset and we welcome people of all backgrounds; seeking a culture of respect, openness, learning, integrity, and honesty.

The Alliance is on a DEIJ journey, actively integrating the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) into all aspects of our work.

The journey is a continual process that involves ongoing self-reflection and improvement, as well as a commitment to continuously learning and evolving to better serve and support our stakeholders at every level.

We recognize that environmental burdens and benefits are not distributed equitably across the Chesapeake Watershed. The collaboration and inclusion of diverse community voices across the watershed is core to the Alliance’s programmatic delivery. Prioritizing equitable impacts helps address environmental injustices, as under-resourced or marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and often have limited access to sustainable solutions. By incorporating DEIJ values into our collective restoration efforts we will see more effective, creative, and expansive environmental impacts that benefit all members of the broad Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Bringing about greater diversity and equitable practices within our organization’s efforts not only requires action in our programmatic delivery, but also starts with a critical look at how we operate internally in the ways we govern, manage, and work in the watershed. The Alliance continues to embrace a process of DEIJ change with dedicated staff, funding, and programming.

View Our DEIJ Timeline

Environmental Resilience Requires Social Justice

Environmental resilience refers to the ability of a community or ecosystem to withstand and recover from environmental stressors such as natural disasters, pollution, or climate change. Social justice, on the other hand, refers to the fair and just treatment of all members of a society, particularly those who have historically been marginalized or disadvantaged. The Alliance sees a strong connection between environmental resilience and social justice, as overburdened communities are often disproportionately affected by environmental stressors and may have fewer resources to cope with and recover from them. A significant social justice barrier to environmental resilience also comes in the form of accessibility, be it green spaces, green solutions, and the green economy.

While the Alliance’s programming inherently focuses around restoration, conservation, and environmental resilience, it is with social justice efforts that we see the sustained impacts of this work, and in turn communities that are better able to address environmental challenges.

The Alliance believes that clean water and access to nature should be available to each individual that lives in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. We strive to collaborate with partners in the Chesapeake Bay community who demonstrate integrity and amplify diverse voices for equitable and inclusive impact. As an organization, our mission is to bring together communities, companies, and conservationists to improve the lands and waters of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

We are committed to creating a more diverse, inclusive, equitable, and just environmental movement because it is the only way to ensure all communities are resilient in the face of our changing climate. We know that an inclusive approach and diversity of mindsets lead to more creative and permanent solutions!

Alliance DEIJ Commitments

The Alliance staff, as spearheaded by organizational leadership and its internal DEIJ team will continue to be instrumental in:

Providing education and training to staff related to internal expectations, policies, and culture, programs, and partnerships that promote equitable, diverse, and inclusive outcomes and actions.

Working across programs to effectively integrate DEIJ values into project concepts, tactics, and partnerships.

Advancing critical internal infrastructure documents that govern the Alliance’s employees and programs.

Ensuring DEIJ values are present throughout the Alliance’s next Strategic Plan (anticipated in 2023) and supporting the implementation of relevant implementation activities.

Communicate DEI programmatic work at the Alliance and across the watershed.

Convey the internal DEIJ work of the Alliance as it advances the organization’s structure and systems in order to hold ourselves accountable and encourage partners and supporters to do the same.

Leverage the Alliance’s voice to highlight EJ issues and DEIJ news in the watershed and uplift the voices and stories of our partners and communities – specifically Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Regularly engage Board and staff (at all levels) in DEIJ accountability as we work towards the inclusive multicultural organization that the Alliance aspires to be.


If you are interested in learning more about the Alliance’s DEI resources, best practices, or programmatic impacts, please reach out to the DEIJ Team at dei@allianceforthebay.org.

We Believe that Language Matters

Pronouns are how people refer to one another and how we talk about each other- they are an extension of our names and therefore an extension of our identity.

“Mistaking or assuming peoples’ pronouns…mistakes their gender and sends a harmful message. Using someone’s correct gender pronouns is one of the most basic ways to show your respect for their identity” (UCSF).

Examples of pronouns include she/her/hers/herself, he/him/his/himself, they/them/theirs/themself or themselves, and ze/hir/hirs/hirself.

You may see Alliance staff with pronouns noted in their emails, on virtual calls, or at their events. This intentional and encouraged practice is a critical piece of our mission to create an inclusive environment for all.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Terminology Communications Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide communication guidance on commonly used DEIJ terminology for organizations operating in the environmental field. To learn more about the Alliance’s DEIJ Terminology Communications Guide check out our blog.

Download the Guide

Stories From the Blog

The Alliance releases its Diversity Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Terminology Guide for communicators

After a year of continued research and discussion, the Alliance unveiled the official DEIJ Terminology Communications Guide on September 17th, 2021 coupled with resources for further definitive research and access to inclusive perspectives. While the guide was created to help address questions our own staff has had over the years, we hope it can serve as an invaluable resource to other communicators as well.

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“This Bay is Your Bay, This Bay is Our Bay”

Earlier this month, I took part in a webinar hosted by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Through Ebony Eyes: Preserving the Legacy of Blacks on the Chesapeake. Vince Leggett, the Founder and President of Blacks of the Chesapeake, was the primary presenter. Mr. Leggett is a compelling speaker, weaving in his own experience with tales …

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Looking Inward on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At the Alliance, we envision resilient landscapes cared for all people who live, work, and play in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Last year, the Alliance amplified its commitment to all Chesapeake Bay communities to continue to build a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within our organization and through all the work we do.

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Pride Paving the Way for Safe Space and Community in the Outdoors

As we consider safe spaces in the outdoors there are often two important themes: inclusivity in natural spaces and forging community through natural spaces. Natural areas can help people connect, heal, and relax but unfortunately they are also spaces where many non-white or queer folks have been historically excluded. As I reflect on Pride Month and all the fantastic events around the watershed I also want to recognize the individuals and groups who work hard every day to build pride, safety, and community through natural spaces.

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Celebrating Juneteenth across the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Find out about a few celebrations happening in the cities where the Alliance has offices and virtual events you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.

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Finding your serenity in the garden

May is here and nature is in full bloom! Let’s slow down and take it all in – or at least what’s in our own planters!
National Garden Meditation Day is recognized on May 3rd of each year and encourages us all to stop and smell the roses, literally!

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Rethinking Earth Day through the lens of Climate Justice

Recently it has become more difficult to separate Earth Day events from the awareness of climate change. Traditional Earth Day celebrations and “environmentalism” in general conjure images of vast spaces of protected pristine lands and water, majestic forests, and quintessential North American wildlife species that evoke the feeling of special places and patriotism. Or we …

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Women in Forestry

When you work in the world of forest landowner education, specifically with women who own woodlands, you are bound to hear sooner than later a version of the same cautionary tale. There’s the victim – in the case I learned, a recent widow – and an antagonist – the opportunistic logger. Shortly after the widow’s …

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Meet the Next Generation of Black Environmentalists

During Black History Month this year, I have read several articles about the iconic environmental breakthroughs of George Washington Carver, or the conservationist mindset of Charles Young. However, I found myself seeking more information about today’s Black environmentalists, the spaces they are working in, and how the Alliance can unite and uplift their messages. I’m …

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The Pages of Black History – Every Month

5 inspiring reads to help develop a richer understanding of the world, strengthen interpersonal skills, and increase your creativity.

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