Our Mission

Purpose: We are a network that offers ways to connect, inspire, share knowledge, and empower the conservation community in the Kansas City region to increase justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in all our work.

Vision: Just as biodiversity strengthens natural systems, the diversity of human experience strengthens our conservation efforts for the benefit of nature and all human beings.  The Kansas City regional conservation community represents and reflects that human diversity, embracing it in all communities where we work to benefit communities and achieve conservation goals. 

Our Origin

In 2017, a group of organizations asked, “How can we bring justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) to the forefront of the conservation community?”  Thus began the slow unfurling of JEDI leaves across a number of organizations.

Since forming, KCCEN has taken formative steps to engage the environmental community and educate ourselves to advance JEDI among our members.  We have convened small groups to share questions, thoughts, what has worked, and what has not.  We have brought in educational speakers and shared steps to move forward in these realms. 

We have a long path in front of us but are advancing with open hearts and minds to become the greater whole community we know we need and can be.


Coordinating Committee

Deep Roots

Contact: Stacia Stelk www.deprootskc.org

Contact: Margo Farnsworth

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are an organizational value for Deep Roots. We work together with our many diverse neighbors on projects advancing the use of native plants in our neighborhoods.

Evolutionary biology teaches us that communities prosper and survive through diversity. Deep Roots works to amplify the work of others and initiate partnerships. We work to bring all voices to the table – two legs, four legs, six legs, and those with deep roots.

Down to Earth Services

Contact: Natalie Gibson www.dtekc.com

Connecting people to nature through ecologically inspired native landscape design in Missouri and Kansas.

Heartland Conservation Alliance

Contact: Jill Erickson www.heartlandconservationalliance.org

Diversity and inclusion are strategic imperatives. Our business and conservation strategies are enriched by the experiences, perspectives, and values of diverse individuals and communities. Protecting and conserving the environment transcends political, cultural, and social boundaries. 

Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Just as biodiversity strengthens natural systems, the diversity of human experience strengthens our conservation efforts for the benefit of nature and all human beings. Heartland Conservation Alliance must represent and reflect that diversity, embracing it in all the communities where we work, to achieve our conservation goals.

We are committed to increasing the diversity of our staff, board, volunteers, members, and supporters, and to fostering an inclusive network of partners in all kinds of communities, from rural to urban.

Visit HCA’s Equity Network page.

Kansas Native Plant Society

Contact: Shirley Braunlich www.kansasnativeplantsociety.org

We do our utmost to expand the diversity of our membership, our board of directors, and our choice of other organizations and coalitions as partners. Moreover, we recognize that conservation of plant diversity is best advanced by contributions of people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, and cultures.

Diversity Policy

Participation in KNPS must be broad if we are to draw from the rich palette of perspectives and approaches needed to fully enjoy the natural world and to meet current and emerging challenges impacting native plants and their habitats, and impacting our society.  

Greater wildlife and plant biodiversity in the natural world create stronger and more resilient responses to stresses in an ecosystem. Humans are a part of the natural world; with more diverse people involved in environmental work comes more creative responses to ecosystem needs.  

The Resilient Activist

Contact: Sami Aaron www.theresilientactivist.org

The Resilient Activist’s mission is to build resilience, optimism, and hope in response to the impact of the climate crisis by providing community, stress-relief, and nature-connected programming that will support positive ecological change.

Diversity Policy

Expanding justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are an important focus for our work.

We know how disproportionately communities of color and low incomes are impacted by climate change and environmental destruction, and we recognize the emotional impact this has on all stakeholders. 

We offer programming that addresses this emotional impact within the intersection of race, equity, social justice, and the health of the planet. Our intent to join with KCCEN is to be in closer contact with more diverse communities, have an opportunity to collaborate in educating ourselves about JEDI issues in our region, and to assist us in creating supportive programming to provide resilience to those who are impacted most.