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Embracing Diversity and Belonging in the Heart of Nature

In the world of birdwatching, there’s a magic that comes with spotting and identifying a bird based on its song, wing shape, or size; a magic that transcends boundaries and backgrounds. At Audubon Great Plains, we believe in fostering a community where everyone can experience this magic, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

That’s why we’re proud to champion equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) in all of our endeavors. In the last year, our team has developed an EDIB committee to support our work and nurture our community. As a regional office of the National Audubon Society, we are proud to work alongside efforts made across the organization.

Birding and Belonging
One of our most cherished initiatives is the Larks Women’s Birding Group. Starting in March of 2023 in Fargo, North Dakota, this female-centric birding group is more than just a club; it’s a community where birders of all levels, from beginners to experts, can come together and celebrate their shared passion for birding. Throughout the year, the group has explored various Urban Woods and Prairie nature parks in Fargo, Grand Forks, and even visited our beloved Edward M. Brigham III Sanctuary. Each Larks bird outing is providing new sites to explore, different species to identify, and lasting connections.

Bridging Cultures Through Nature
This July, we hosted the first Nature Walk and Indigenous Language Talk in partnership with the FM Indigenous Association. This event had over 50 participants join and served as a testament to the power of a natural setting to illustrate the benefit of inclusivity, belonging, and learning from one another in a welcoming environment. Held at Forest River Nature Park in Fargo, this walk provided participants the opportunity to learn indigenous names of native plants and their use in indigenous communities. Experiences like this offer a profound opportunity to deepen our connection of the land we share and the people who’ve called it home for generations. This was the first of an annual series.

PRIDE: Celebrating Love and Acceptance
Diversity and belonging extend far beyond the prairies. We proudly participated in the PRIDE parade in Nebraska, where we celebrate love, acceptance, and the rights of our LGBTQ+ community members. At Spring Creek Prairie, we believe that the natural world has the unique power to bring people together, to dissolve boundaries, and to nurture a sense of belonging.

By expanding our diverse and inclusive programs like the Larks Women’s Birding Group, Indigenous Language Nature Walks, and our presence at events like the PRIDE parade, we’re committed to continuing our learning and understanding of what it means to foster equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.

Through education, outreach and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible for everybody. Audubon Great Plains North Dakota team hosted their first Birdability outing in partnership with CCRI, Creative Care for Reaching Independence. Attendees joined Nebraska Birdability Captain, Cassandra, with some relaxing bird watching while sitting in the shelter and then exploring the paved paths. The joy of birding was appreciated and celebrated by those in attendance and highlights included seeing a group of migrating yellow-rumped warblers and Northern Flickers.

In conclusion, Audubon Great Plains' unwavering commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) drives our success. By recognizing that the protection and preservation of our natural world must go hand-in-hand with the principles of EDIB, Audubon Great Plains does its part to ensure that the benefits of conservation are accessible to all. In prioritizing EDIB, Audubon Great Plains sets a positive example for the conservation community but also actively contributes to a more sustainable and harmonious future for both people and the environment. 


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