Diversity and Inclusion

SAF Diversity and Inclusion Policy: The Society of American Foresters is committed to diversity and inclusion in our leadership, membership, programs, and activities. SAF seeks to connect with those who value forests and their benefits, creating an abundance of dedicated professionals and volunteers eager and willing to advance the sustainable management of our forest resources. SAF strives to promote an environment designed to embrace our differences in which all community members are welcomed and valued. Successfully engaging people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives strengthens our communities, provides essential resources, and creates thriving forests. Broad participation by diverse people within our membership, the forestry community, partner organizations, landowners, and other stakeholders is essential to fulfilling our mission.

The public that benefits from the forests we manage is increasingly diverse. If we want to meet society’s needs for forests, the forestry and natural resources communities must be able to reflect and therefore intrinsically understand the demands and desires the public has for forests. Only after we better understand the public’s needs can we develop forest management solutions to solve the problems it is facing. Simply put, if we don’t reflect or represent the society we serve, we risk not being able to serve it.
SAF has taken the following steps to actively promote diversity and inclusion in the forestry and natural resources communities:
Adopted a national Diversity and Inclusion Policy at its April 2017 meeting that serves as a guidepost and impetus for SAF diversity and inclusion programs and activities. (Above.) 
A new Diversity and Inclusion Working Group (F3) was created in 2017 to identify opportunities for how SAF can be more welcoming and inclusive. 
A new Diversity Leadership Award was approved in 2017 that allows SAF to recognize individual excellence in diversity promotion and advancement .
Diversity programs at the 2016 National Convention provided opportunities to hear and share different perspectives on the importance of diversity and inclusion. See 2017 SAF National Convention plans for diversity and inclusion programming.
A partnership with the US Forest Service and the National Association of University Forest Resource Programs that helped us to better understand how diversity and inclusion can help the profession attract and retain talent. See the report produced by the partnership below. The report reflects the views of forestry and natural resources professionals on how to attract and retain talent over time within the profession.
The Mollie Beattie Visiting Scholar in Forest Policy Program supports one graduate student, post-doctoral student, faculty, or early career professional in forestry or related natural resource disciplines. Applicants from underrepresented groups in natural resources professions will be given first priority. 
The Student Diversity Scholarship supports a diverse group of students who attend the SAF National Convention.  
The Gregory Award provides economic assistance to outstanding students or professionals from outside the United States and Canada for travel to the SAF National Convention.

We need to advance diversity and inclusion jointly as an organization and individually as SAF members. Here are some quick tips for being a more welcoming and inclusive SAF member or volunteer.
Members planning events should consider activity type, locations, dates, and times that appeal to wide variety of people. 
Once an event or meeting starts, members should welcome those who may be new to SAF meetings.
Individual members can also make diversity and inclusion a priority in their workplace by recruiting and mentoring employees from different backgrounds and making them know they are an important part of the future of the forestry profession.
 A focus on diversity and inclusion practices, closely linked with specific actions such employee recruitment and retention strategies, helps our profession compete for the best talent and brightest minds entering the business and science world, no matter their background. By casting a wider net for future foresters and natural-resources managers, we will have better-quality talent entering the profession. Developing strategies for welcoming and mentoring diverse employees will help to retain that talent. And a more diverse and talented workforce surely will help the profession better fulfill its mission to serve society.

Together we will make SAF an inclusive organization that welcomes all types of diversity—from one’s alma mater, to their chosen career within the broad field of forestry, to gender, ethnicity, and cultural diversity—so we can better fulfill our mission to serve society. 

Link to the July 2017 issue of The Forestry Source to get the SAF leadership’s perspective on diversity and inclusion.