On June 11, 2020 the Board of Commissioners of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks took action to endorse an open letter statement addressing the underlying racial injustice far too prevalent in our society. You can read that statement HERE.
Advancing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at the Metroparks
The Huron-Clinton Metroparks is a regional park system with the responsibility to provide recreation, leisure and environmental stewardship to residents of our five-county region (Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties) and beyond.
The Metroparks recognizes that our parks sit on lands that were home to the Algonquin, Chippewa, Fox or Meskwaki, Kickapoo, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, Sac or Sauk, and Wyandot Nations. We embrace the First Nations’ traditions of environmental stewardship as a critical part of the Metroparks mission.
While we are proud of the diversity of backgrounds, experiences and skills of our entire Metroparks family, we are also aware that we are not as representative of our service region as we should be. To address this and ensure we are providing the most welcoming outdoor recreation experience and opportunities across our 13 parks, we have launched a comprehensive Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative.
Highlights of this initiative include:
- Developing and implementing a training curriculum that is specific to the Metroparks. This training is required for ALL full-time, part-time employees and seasonal staff throughout the organization. This training is ongoing, evaluated and operationalized as well as measured regularly to track and ensure our progress.
- Building critical awareness and capacity of our staff through a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advisory Team. This team receives ongoing, advanced training and is responsible for helping spread DEI efforts across the park system through engagement, activities and training opportunities.
- Implementing ongoing, specialized law enforcement training for the Metroparks Police Department by third-party experts to ensure best practices.
- Ensuring all Metroparks platforms and communication tools are representatives of the diverse region we serve, from signage and informational materials in multiple languages to reflective images on our web site, fliers and more. We want everyone to see themselves and truly demonstrate how the Metroparks have something for everyone.
- Reviewing our hiring process at all levels, from making our job postings more accessible to diverse audiences to establishing values-based interview questions to mitigate our explicit and implicit biases.
- Rethinking how we support and manage staff as they explore their own identities and privilege.
- Reviewing and revising as necessary our organizational policies and practices and updating our employee handbook continuously to further promote equity throughout our organization.
- Challenging our individual, collective and organizational bias with the overarching goal of ensuring the best, most positive experience to ALL our park patrons.
- Cultivating external relationships that help us become stronger community advocates and thought partners.
- Actively seeking wide-ranging community partners from diverse communities and sectors to help inform our programs, events and activities, to gain critical feedback and increase accessibility among underrepresented groups across our service region.
- Pushing ourselves to ask tough questions and not shy away from the critical issues that impact our communities, region, state, and nation.
Our goal is to be the best stewards of not only our parks system, but the public trust. A critical part of earning and keeping that trust is becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization. This important work must first begin internally and will be reflected in the care we take with each of our valued patrons.
Lastly, we also recognize that becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization is a journey that requires discourse, collaboration and an openness to change. We understand that this journey may not always be comfortable and will take time; we will make mistakes, but we are fully committed to engaging in the process.
For questions or to share feedback, ideas or concerns, contact Metroparks Chief of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Artina Sadler, at Artina.Sadler@metroparks.com or by calling her desk 810-494-6010 or cell 810-819-7540.
Metroparks Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan
View the full plan here: Metroparks Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan – Board approved 3/13/2020
The Metroparks’ DEI Speaker Series is a way for us to share in open conversations, to expand our learning and advance the concepts and practices of diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to our parks, community, region, state and beyond.
The theme for 2021 is Unity of Purpose; with the goal of establishing a common understanding of DEI issues. We will feature national, regional and local speakers presenting on a variety of topics related to the theme throughout the year.
If you have any speaker or topic recommendations, please send them to Artina Carter, Chief of DEI at Artina.Carter@metroparks.com.
You can watch a recording of the second speaker in our series, Dr. Elizabeth Perry. During a special board meeting of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Board of Commisioners on July 20, 2021, Dr. Elizabeth Perry provided a keynote address followed by Q&A to commissioners, staff and public listeners about how climate change is altering global systems, including parks and their resources worldwide and in our backyards. This creates challenges for management of these places, the recreation opportunities available, the visitor experience, and equity considerations. In this talk, Dr. Elizabeth Perry defined and illustrated climate change impacts across these park conditions and invited discussion on navigating the impacts as individuals, communities, and park stewards.