Black Lives Matter to the Philadelphia City Nature Challenge (PCNC). The Philadelphia City Nature Challenge Organizing Committee condemns all forms of racism, discrimination, and prejudice. We stand in solidarity with the Black community against systemic racism, white supremacy, and police brutality. We believe that nature is for everyone, but that can never be realized until we do everything we can to ensure that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color feel safe in the outdoors. The experience of engaging in active or passive activities in natural areas, using binoculars, or observing wildlife in every facet of the public realm, is drastically different for different groups of people. BIPOC, and especially black people, face excessive scrutiny from white people when engaging in the activities they love as evidenced by the recent racist incident against Christian Cooper, a black birdwatcher in NYC. While that incident luckily did not end as badly as it could have, we all know how easily the situation could have been very different as we saw with the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others at the hands of law enforcement. We grieve with all of their families and loved ones, and mourn that their lives were taken far too early.
While Philadelphia is a diverse city, the naturalist community in Philadelphia isn’t so diverse. We acknowledge that we haven’t done enough to make sure that this is addressed and we aim to do better. We pledge to increase programs in under-served areas, and actively reach out to communities of color to make sure that they are represented in citizen science efforts.