UBC Forestry’s Diversity Crew has been named recipients of the Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada (CIF-IFC) Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Group Achievement Award.
This inaugural Award recognizes groups who have made significant and outstanding contributions to advance gender equity, equality, inclusion and diversity in the field of forestry in Canada.
UBC Forestry’s Diversity Crew
UBC Forestry’s Diversity Crew is a volunteer-led and autonomous organization made up of mostly students who aim to create a culture of broader inclusion as well as celebrate diversity, interculturality and LGBTQ2S+ people and projects through hosted events and initiatives.
“When it all got started in March 2016, we could not have anticipated what it has become today – an enthusiastic and empowered team who is changing the way we communicate for the better and educating us all in how we approach the topics of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion,” says former Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion and Faculty of Forestry professor Sarah Gergel. “The Faculty is so fortunate to have this team that would not have been possible without people like its co-founder Estefanía Milla-Moreno.”
Estefanía Milla-Moreno is a Latina scholar and PhD candidate in the Faculty of Forestry. She, along with two forestry alumni Ana Elia Ramón-Hidalgo, Gillian Fuss, and professor Sarah Gergel, started the Diversity Crew following a tragic set of circumstances when word got around that a Pride flag had been burned elsewhere on campus.
“We recognized there was a profound need for a platform to discuss and address these issues,” recalls Milla-Moreno. “We agreed we could be the ones to initiate change and as such, the Diversity Crew was established.”
Milla-Moreno is thrilled that the Crew has been named as winners of this inaugural award. She emphasizes this accomplishment would not have been possible without the profound support and involvement of Dr. Sarah Gergel.
“What a great honour it is for the Crew to be receiving this,” says Milla-Moreno. “With all of their expertise in consensus-building, workshop facilitation and creative adeptness, the team is quickly becoming an interculturality model of excellence for others to follow.”
Milla-Moreno currently supports the work of the current EDI Associate Dean, professor Hisham Zerriffi.
Current Diversity Crew member Vanessa Comeau says the distinction has been motivating for everyone who serves on the Crew.
“The award means so much to everyone and is serving as a source of inspiration for all the work we plan to undertake in the coming months.”
Founded in 1908, the CIF-IFC is the oldest forest society in Canada and serves as the national voice for forest practitioners and many others with an interest in forestry. The institute strives to provide national leadership, promote competence and foster public awareness of Canadian and international forestry and forest issues.