The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is a state agency dedicated to conserving Nebraska’s natural resources, state parks and wildlife, as well as providing opportunities for outdoor recreation. We currently offer a variety of programs and initiatives including hunting and fishing, natural resource research, outdoor recreation opportunities, habitat management, parks and recreation areas across the state, education and outreach.
But we also recognize our programs and resources may not be meeting the needs of all our constituents, and we know we have much work to do in order to provide opportunities, resources and access to Nebraska’s diverse communities. We are on a journey to change; we are proud to be making a commitment to ensure Game and Parks is welcoming and inclusive for both our internal staff and our customers and constituency.
Our diversity and inclusion statement
Just as diversity is critical to the resiliency and strength of our native ecosystems, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission knows diversity is critical to our mission and success. We are committed to fostering a diverse workforce and creating an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for our staff and constituents. Our actions and our programs will reflect this culture of belonging and equity for Nebraska’s communities and visitors.
Outdoor recreation and healthy ecosystems are critical for all Nebraskans; therefore the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission affirms our constituency to be Nebraska’s diverse communities and state visitors, including those that celebrate outdoor pursuits, those that appreciate the intrinsic value of the outdoors, and those who have yet to discover the wonders of nature.
We already are working to move our diversity and inclusion efforts forward in the following ways:
Diversity and Inclusion Workgroup
This group, comprised of staff from each of our divisions, meets monthly to learn and discuss ways the Commission can provide a welcoming and inviting culture both internally for our staff and for our customers and constituency. In addition to writing the agency’s diversity and inclusion position statement, the group also established a constituency statement. Combined, these two statements make our commitment to diversity and inclusion known.
Recognizing we may not be meeting the needs of all Nebraskans, we wrote a community survey targeted to those people who do not currently participate, or rarely participate, in Game and Parks education opportunities. The goals of this survey were to better understand our underserved audiences and determine how our education efforts can best serve Nebraska’s diverse communities.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is boosting training on diversity and inclusion topics, adding opportunities outside of the traditional suite.
Develop a strategic plan
Work has started to develop a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, with the hope to complete it by December 2021. This document is intended to guide each of the branches of our agency on this important topic.
Establish an Advisory Group
This external group consists of representatives from diverse groups across Nebraska. The goal of this group is to provide guidance and strategies to better engage all Nebraskans.
Accessing and enjoying outdoor recreation is something every Nebraskan should have the opportunity to do. Our commitment to this includes installing ADA-compliant fishing piers, sidewalks, playgrounds and restrooms. Additionally, as we develop new projects in our parks areas, we always look to ensure universal access.