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

MLK Day of Service – What It Is, Why It’s Important

As we move through a new year, do not forget the importance of coming together as a community. When we come together, we can make great strides toward real change. This Monday, January 15, we recognize a prominent leader who reminds us of that – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King …

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Disability, Access, and the Outdoors

December 3rd is the annual International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Over 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability (CDC). Whether visible or invisible, these disabilities impact the daily lives of 26% of all US adults. This day serves to celebrate the lives of those with disabilities, while also drawing attention …

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Drawn to Nature during the Holiday Season

As we move into the holiday season this year the Alliance is reminded of the diversity of cultures and family traditions that occur throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Much like the natural world, our communities comprise of many different voices, experiences, and are in constant flux. The beauty of autumn and the seasonal changes remind …

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Defining Our Bay Community: A Reflection on Hispanic Heritage Month

The many stakeholders working to strengthen the Chesapeake Bay watershed are truly phenomenal. From conservationists to sportsmen, foundations, governments, businesses, and houses of worship, the Bay gives us so much and we work to give back. I give back by helping to enhance our watershed’s environmental resilience, many others focus on economic stability or community …

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Providing Equitable Access to Green Spaces in Richmond, VA

At the beginning of the year, a “Green Team” of community partners was formed to help the Mayor identify the city-owned land that would become parks and to recommend policies to put in place to ensure the future of these parks. The Alliance’s VA State Director, Nissa Dean, and RiverWise Program Manager, Christina Bonini, served on the Mayor’s Green Team alongside other members of Richmond’s conservation community.

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Remembering Nelson Mandela and His Vision of Freedom

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” -Nelson Mandela

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Riverwise Education

Riverwise Schools meets STEM in Richmond, VA

Environmental educators from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the James River Park System are thrilled to be working together to bring an after-school program to Richmond Public Schools (RPS) students next year.

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Diverse Communities in Dairy Farming

Dairy farming is not only very physical and demanding work, but also a very stressing one. Not surprisingly, the number of dairy farms is decreasing according to the last Ag Census. But more sadly, the average age of farmers (57.5 years) keeps climbing. This shows us that there are less and less Americans interested in …

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Equity in Forestry

“What a friend we have in a tree, the tree is the symbol of hope, self improvement and what people can do for themselves.” – Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and founder of the Green Belt Movement Often when we talk about trees, we speak of the ecological services they provide. From trapping greenhouses …

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Alliance Board Member, Gregory Wims: An Activist for Victim’s Right Foundation

Gregory (Greg) Wims is a local businessman and community activist who has been on the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s Board of Directors for the past three years. Greg has occupied his time quarantining during COVID-19 by keeping himself busy with his day job in construction, as well as with his volunteer activism work. In …

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