Widening the Wild

Freedom for the land, freedom for all people.

When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion in conservation, Northeast Wilderness Trust recognizes there is much work to be done. We acknowledge the painful histories of discrimination and oppression that have caused today’s inequities—within and beyond the conservation field. “Widening the Wild” is the Wilderness Trust’s initiative to move towards a fair and just wilderness movement that amplifies a diversity of human voices in the common fight for a resilient, abundant Earth—for all life.

PARTNERSHIP & NATIVE LAND RIGHTS

Northeast Wilderness Trust is proud to partner with Native Land Conservancy (NLC), an indigenous-led land trust dedicated to protecting culturally and ecologically important places in the ancestral homelands of the Wampanoag and other tribal Nations. Our partnership is centered around Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve in Kingston, MA.

Together, NLC & NEWT have established an MOU outlining the direction of the Partnership. A principle goal is a Cultural Respect Easement. “The Cultural Respect Easement welcomes indigenous people to regain access to lands they have been separated from for, in most cases, centuries,” explained Ramona Peters, Chairwoman of the Native Land Conservancy.

Northeast Wilderness Trust will donate a forever-wild easement on the land to the Native Land Conservancy. The easement will legally secure indigenous rights to this special place—one of the few surviving pine barrens forests in Southeast Massachusetts. Finally, the organizations have committed to working together to share this story publicly and advocate for wild places and restoration of indigenous land connection.

REWILDING INTERNSHIP

Northeast Wilderness Trust will host an internship that offers real-world wilderness stewardship experience to young people, specifically those underrepresented in conservation professions. The goal of this program is to kick-start careers in conservation and contribute to diversifying this workforce. A more diverse wilderness movement is a more durable, joyful, and beautiful one.

We aim to offer this internship in Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire in the coming years. Please contact sophi [@] newildernesstrust.org if you’d like to be notified of future internship openings, or if you’d like to support this opportunity in your community.

LEARNING CIRCLE

In in June 2020, Northeast Wilderness Trust spoke out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Read our statement here. We committed ourselves to learn, reflect, and act.  Over the past year or so, Wilderness Trust staff have been reading, sharing, and discussing articles on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in what we call the DEI Learning Circle. We are focusing on these topics as they relate to land conservation, access to nature, and wilderness values. We acknowledge that this learning journey is a lifelong pursuit, and commit to continuing these conversations with openness and humility.  Moving forward each staff member will incorporate relevant DEI principles into their work plan.  The organization has also implemented a standing line item in our annual operating budget dedicated to DEI work.

COMMUNITY CONSERVATION

You have to love something before you are moved to save it.

Sylvia Earle

Community Conservation is the practice of connecting people to the land, and to each other. This type of conservation responds to needs expressed by the people who live near the conservation land. In Massachusetts, at Muddy Pond Wilderness Preserve, Land Steward Joe Falconeiri welcomes local school groups seeking outdoor education experiences and shares wilderness values and conservation ethics with students and teachers. In this urban context, opportunities to experience wild places are rare. Muddy Pond serves as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom for youth who may not otherwise get to spend time outdoors. We approach this work carefully, while striving to balance access with ecological protection.

If your school group is interested in visiting a wilderness preserve to learn about ecological values and how to make the world a wilder place, please contact sophi [@] newildernesstrust.org or 802.224.1000 ext. 108