Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Team Charter

Revised January 28th, 2022


CFRI DEIJ Team Charter

The goal of Colorado Forest Restoration Institute’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DEIJ) team is to build and enhance a shared understanding of how our organization implements inclusive practices in our work. CFRI’s mission is to collaboratively develop and apply science-informed solutions that reduce wildfire risk and restore forest resilience. Our success is dependent on our ability to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries and work with diverse groups of students, faculty, staff, professional partners, and community stakeholders. The DEIJ team will develop, support, and/or implement initiatives that foster a more inclusive culture, increase diversity and enhance equity amongst our staff, and contribute to improving social justice issues impacting forest and fire research and management. The Team will address contemporary DEIJ issues in the organization in the context of historical exclusion and marginalization in natural resource professions and society. In alignment with Colorado State University’s Commitment to Inclusive Excellence, CFRI uses the broadest possible definition of diversity and is committed to welcoming diversity in age, culture, disability, ethnicity, familial status, gender identity, and expression, geographic background, marital status, national origin, perspectives, race, religious and spiritual beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and veteran status. By promoting a culture where different perspectives are valued and respected, yet also held accountable to facts and reasoned discussion, a culture of accountability develops amongst all staff as well as between CFRI and our partners.

The CFRI DEIJ team aims to:
  • Increase transparency about our initiatives, practices, and science in ways that promote respectful dialogue and empower social accountability within and outside our organization.
  • Enhance diversity of perspectives who may not be heard and amplify underrepresented voices.
  • Provide well-researched and considered advice on DEIJ issues relevant to CFRI.
  • Coordinate with and serve as a bridge between CFRI leadership, other CFRI Teams, and individual staff on DEIJ related issues.
  • Facilitate action on productive ideas no matter where they originate from.
DEIJ Team Measures of Success
  • Pursue meaningful change within realistic expectations, and aim to improve our DEIJ practices and relationships “one degree at a time”.
  • Ensure our work moves beyond education and results in actions that improve our practices and outcomes.
  • Avoid token gestures and insincere actions.
  • Maintain a safe space where all CFRI staff and partners feel welcome, valued, and respected.
  • Promote an institutional culture where employees are empowered to speak up about concerns and celebrate successes and can expect a compassionate and informed response from their coworkers and/or leadership.
  • Increase diversity of CFRI staff at all levels within the organization.
  • Our DEIJ efforts attract resources and sustain improvements within the organization, and with external partners.
Team Membership

The team will be comprised of representatives across the work areas and other CFRI teams at every staff level. The team will aim to approximate the demographic diversity of current CFRI staff across as many spectrums as possible. Participation on the committee is voluntary and will be open to anyone in the organization. Team members and CFRI leadership will work together to ensure a breadth of perspectives are represented on the team. CFRI members of Warner College of Natural Resources (WCNR) DEIJ Committees will participate as active members on the CFRI DEIJ Team and act as liaisons between CFRI and WCNR committees.

Committee Members: Hannah Brown, Marin Chambers, Jarod Dunn, Helen Flynn, Ch’aska Huayuaca-Frye, Angela Hollingsworth, Kat Morici, Brooke Simmons, Katarina Warnick, Maddie Wilson, Brett Wolk

DEIJ Efforts (work in progress)

Identify current (and potentially past) DEIJ initiatives CFRI has implemented.

Goal: provide transparency and inform all CFRI staff of DEIJ initiatives, and to help identify gaps where new initiatives might be needed.

Internal initiatives:

  • Started a CFRI DEIJ team
  • Created space to regularly discuss DEIJ initiatives in bi-weekly team meetings
  • Organize required annual DEIJ trainings for all field crew and field-based staff:
  • A category on RA staff annual evaluations focuses on DEIJ efforts and accomplishments to provide an opportunity for staff to receive recognition for DEIJ achievements and communicate expectations that all CFRI staff are expected to work on improving their DEIJ practices
  • Make staff aware of DEIJ trainings and encourage their attendance
  • Intentionally reach out and recruit applicants from different student clubs and student perspectives on campus when hiring students, including Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS), CSU Diversity Centers, and colleges besides WCNR. Incentivize hiring and training inexperienced students.
    • Have provided more resources to field crews including camping gear, cooking gear, etc. to make entry-level jobs more equitable and accessible for students with different economic status’.
    • Develop a gear stipend for the field crew to support buying better personal field equipment
  • Intentionally show pictures of different people and perspectives (age, race, gender, etc.) in CFRI position advertisements to recruit diverse applicant pools. Ask Rickey Frierson and other WCNR staff to review position announcements to make them as inclusive as possible before advertising.
    • Need to report on demographics of current and past employees, and if possible applicant pools for RA and student positions
  • Implemented a new diversity statement co-developed with Rickey Frierson for RA job posting advertising
  • Intentionally adding more DEIJ interview questions during staff hiring
  • Dedicated funding in current CFRI annual work plan to initiate an internship/fellowship program to enhance participation of more diverse perspectives in forestry and fire collaboration.

Existing partnerships with under-resourced or underrepresented communities:

  • Cal-Wood Education Center (Calwood.org)is a non-profit organization providing natural resources and outdoor education to underrepresented students from Front Range secondary school, particularly focusing on those from LatinX communities. CFRI (particularly Marin, Camille, Katarina) is partnering with Calwood by:
    • Serving as a resource to help Calwood become a long-term research site following the 2020 Calwood Fire
    • Has installed multiple research and monitoring project sites on Calwood property
    • Has participated in outdoor education for underserved high school students, instructing students on forest and fire ecology topics as well as teaching students basic forestry measurements
    • Will be installing long term educational monitoring plots for elementary-high school students to learn basic forestry measurements
  • Montrose High School/Forestry Internship Program is a partnership between CFRI, USFS-GMUG, and Montrose High School students for Uncompaghre Plateau CFRLP monitoring. Many of these interns are from communities underrepresented in forest science and management, particularly LatinX communities.
  • Translated two RMRS briefing papers related to RMRS-GTR-373 Colorado Front Range Principles and Practice of Forest Restoration into Spanish to facilitate communication for and with people working in forestry who don’t speak English as a first language. Continue to build capacity for translating additional materials into languages other than English. Informal initiatives:
  • Professional mentoring
    • CFRI staff members serve as mentors for multiple early career professionals who are underrepresented in forestry
  • CFRI is developing standardized color blind inclusive color schemes for use in maps, data figures, and PowerPoint presentations
  • CFRI staff have encouraged and discussed why using pronouns in email signatures, virtual meetings, and in-person events can be more inclusive


Future Initiatives
  • Connect more with El Centro, specifically youth and El Triumfo program, to provide more forest and fire education resources for the program.
  • Connect with Latino Outdoors: https://latinooutdoors.org/
  • Increase Indigenous land acknowledgment into more CFRI programs and products