While we come from many different backgrounds, land and water connect us all. It’s why WI Land+Water’s mission is to protect, conserve, and enhance Wisconsin’s natural resources for current and future generations. We also believe that everyone should have a voice in protecting the water that we drink, the land we that farm, the parks where we play, the sites that tell our history, the places that we call home.

Although nearly 20% of Wisconsinites identify as a person of color, our conservation community does not reflect these demographics. This lack of diversity creates challenges in our ability to effectively collaborate and to address soil and water issues.

Together, we can evolve to create a more equitable sector for all those involved in conservation. We understand that transformation often starts from the ground up, and we want to strengthen our relationships with the diverse communities we serve.

Where to start



This is a glossary of terms that may be of use as you dive into different topics.


How to express the importance of Equity and Diversity to LCCs

This is a flier about equitabel goverenance. Produced in 2022 it identifies key county roles, opportunites and strategies for governing with equity as outlined by the National Association of Counties (NACo).

View county declarations and resolutions from Wisconsin that have formally expressed the county lawmaking body's opinion and intent to take action

Civil Rights, Discrimination, and Harassment Laws

Find out more about Civil Rights Compliance under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in all programs or activities receiving federal funding.

Additionally, Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

Section 111.31 - 111.395 Wisconsin Statutes also prohibits discrimination in employment. State law also protects workers from harassment in the workplace because of their race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, age (40 and up), disability, sex, arrest or conviction record, marital status, sexual orientation, or membership in the military reserve. Learn more about these protections here.

It is unclear through Wisconsin Statute the extent that independent contractors fall under civil rights protections. Visit the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for guidance on worker classification. Read this legal memorandum to see specific Wisconsin Statutory language and case law that apply to protections of independent contractors.

Sample Discrimination Form

Here is a template for a form to report discrimination here.

Find a sample harassment policy created by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development here.

Sexual Harrassment

Wisconsin state law protects workers against sexual harassment. Learn more about definitions, the forms it may take, liability, and response avenues to it here.

Beyond Compliance: Inclusive, Modern Sexual Harassment Training is designed to foster cultures where harassment is not tolerated, and empower people who witness or experience harassment to take action.

Recruitment, Hiring, and Onboarding

Recruiting, Hiring, and Onboarding Staff: Implementing Better Practices and Mitigating Bias is a webinar hosted by Training Resources for the Environmental Community (TREC). This session shares better practices for creating job descriptions, compensation policies, and onboarding and training plans, all that support both current and new staff. Special emphasis is paid to making the process more equitable and inclusive.

Intergenerational Resources

Generations unmasked is a session hosted at the 68th WI Land+Water conference in 2020. Working from home is against company policy. Video conference meetings won't work for us. People working from home are too distracted. Statements like this were common, until we were forced to change, quickly. How the generations are adapting however is quite different. This seminar will provide generational trends, characteristics and most importantly, strategies to provide insight and understanding into the impacts of the pandemic on our workforce. Presenter: Brad Gingras, Superior Strategies.

Working with diverse landowners and communities in the field

Working with Diverse Communities is a webinar WI Land+Water hosted in 2016. Through the lens of working with Amish and Hmong communities, the presenters emphasize the need for empathy and strategies to break barriers.

Growing Diversity in WI (p. 8-9) is an article in a 2022 Wisconsin Counties Association newsletter. It outlines racial and ethnic changes in Wisconsin over the past 30 years.

Learn about the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts' CARE Program. The purpose is to increase the number of farmers/ranchers participating in conservation planning and programs in order to improve soil health, water quality, and the viability of working lands. The CARE project places an emphasis on assisting socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers/ranchers.

Environmental Justice

Are you in a Justice 40 region? Find out here. Learn more about the Justice 40 initiative https://www.whitehouse.gov/env....

Environmental Justice is increasingly being taken into consideration for programs and grants. Learn more about environmental justice through USDA resources here.

Learn more about opportunities to specifically bridge environmental justice and soil carbon sequestration here.

Writing a Land Acknowledgement

Many organizations are beginning to add Land Acknowledgements in documents and events. Find guidance for creating one from the Native Governance Center here.

Learn more about the Native Land you are on here.

Learn more about the Tribal Histories of the Wisconsin Tribes in your region.