- Author: Wendy Powers
Our program reach continues to expand. We remain a long way from having participation that reflects the population of California, but we are making progress. Our recent annual federal report shared that the California Naturalist Program has developed new partnerships with the following organizations serving underrepresented groups: Community Nature Connection, Nature for All, Outward Bound Adventures, Southern California Mountains Foundation's Urban Conservation Corps, and several more community colleges. Southern California has seen the largest growth of partner organizations serving underrepresented groups. In the Central Sierra region, non-white participation has gone up from 20% in 2019 to 35% in 2020.
In addition, I learned through our report that counties with large UC Master Gardener volunteer enrollments, including Santa Clara, Contra Costa, and Alameda, have adopted implicit bias training requirements for volunteers involved in the selection process. This will help reduce implicit bias in the application review and interview processes leading to a more diverse volunteer population, and improve the cultural competency of the current volunteer population. Volunteer sense of belonging within and commitment to an organization, depends both on the practices of staff and also on the other volunteers. While implicit bias training alone is not sufficient to address inequity in hiring and by extension volunteer selection, implicit bias awareness can be a critical component of equitable volunteer selection.
I am excited to see what additional steps we will take in the near future, in both our programming and as an employer.
I can't believe Friday is upon us already! I hope everyone had a chance to get out and walk on Wednesday, as part of the UC Walks event. The weather perhaps was more appropriate for a swim but at least a cool down is on the way before yard work resumes this weekend. Before we get to the weekend, there are more meetings to attend, not to mention learning about the Governor's May budget revise. Let's keep our fingers crossed for good things for UC!