One goal of the LTER Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee is to facilitate the formation of spaces for community-building among those of us who do not see our identities sufficiently represented in our professional spaces. The committee’s hope is that improving cross-site interactions can help LTER community members increase connections within their professional network, facilitate near-peer mentorship, and increase a sense of belonging within the network.
The committee would like to invite all members of the LTER community who self-identify as a member of a group that is underrepresented in the network, their site, or their professional spaces to join a monthly conversation group via Zoom. Each month the group will highlight the work of underrepresented researchers from a different region within the network and discuss a topic of general interest in a safe, professional, but casual setting.
The group kicked off their meetings on Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 by highlighting work from colleagues in the Southwest and by talking about mentorship and the ways that participants have found (or not found) the support and guidance needed to navigate the mostly male, white, straight, cis, able bodied spaces in ecology and the academy.
- May 11, 2021 at noon PST/2 pm CST. Speaker: Dr. Marta Berbés-Blázquez of the Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER on “Just urban futures”
- April 13, 2021 at noon PST/2 pm CST. Speaker: Dr. Nico Vega of Konza LTER presented on grasslands research.
- March 9, 2021 at noon PST/2 pm CST. Long-Term Research in Tropical Forests, with guest speakers German Vargas Gutierrez on “Size dependent drought sensitivity of tree diameter growth in a tropical dry forest” and Dr. Christine O’Connell on “Ecosystem responses to climate-driven disturbances: the impact of drought and hurricane disturbance on forest biogeochemistry at the Luquillo LTER, Puerto Rico”
- February 9th, 2021 at noon PST/ 2 pm CST. Long-term research in the Southwest, with guest speakers Dr. Anny Chung and Dr. Laureano Gherardi speaking about plant and microbial ecology and using complementary data to understand a changing world.
A note from the Working Group organizers:
We welcome committed allies to join this group and the conversations within it. However, we want to be intentional in creating a space by and for those of us that identify with one or several underrepresented identities in the network. This is not a space designed for allies to become more educated, it is a space for members of the LTER community who do not see themselves sufficiently represented to connect. We hope that all who can benefit from this community will join us. For allies looking to build their knowledge individually or in a separate space, there are many resources specific to ecology curated on the LTER Network webpage – and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee always welcomes new ideas.
We do not intend to lump all underrepresented identities as a monolith. We recognize that our Black and Indigenous colleagues have historically (and continue to be) disproportionately oppressed and face the worst of the institutional racism entrenched in our disciplines. We acknowledge that our research and many of our academic spaces were built on stolen land. We recognize the pain that this brings to our Indigenous colleagues. Sadly, representation remains low in ecology and related disciplines for many identities. We hope that this space can help increase connections between scientists who have experienced discrimination and exclusion in professional spaces — even though they may not fully understand each other’s particular struggles.