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Diversity and Inclusion

In June, DEC joins New York State and our local communities in observing Pride Month - a celebration of LGBTQIA people and their experiences. LGBTQIA+ encompasses lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual, and other queer identities.

June was chosen as Pride Month in memory of the Stonewall riots, during which members of the LGBTQIA+ community protested a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. On the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots in 1970, the first-ever Pride march was held in New York City.

New York's Capital District (home to DEC's Central Office) also has a long history of being an LGBTQIA+ stronghold in the United States. Albany is home to the oldest continually operating LGBTQIA+ community center in the country (The Albany Pride Center). Albany is also the first city in the country to have an openly gay Black person elected to public office. Keith St. John became an alderman in Albany on January 1, 1990. For more on Albany's rich history with the LGBTQIA+ community view WMHT's series Out in Albany (leaves DEC website).

The New York State Pride theme for 2022 is From Silence to Solidarity and is complemented by the New York City Pride theme of Unapologetically Us. Both themes acknowledge the continued struggle and the ongoing resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community.

New York is home to millions of acres of State lands to visit, hundreds of campgrounds, and thousands of miles of trails across the state for hikers of all abilities, and DEC believes all New Yorkers and visitors should be able to access, enjoy, and feel welcome on these lands. State lands belong to all of us, our families, and our neighbors.

Since its inception 50 years ago, the mission of DEC to protect, sustain, and, when possible, improve our environment is a cause that has united all cultures and heritages. Environmental awareness and stewardship play an integral role in many of our cultures, and the pursuit of ensuring a clean, healthy environment now and into the future remains a goal of our agency on a professional and personal level.

DEC is dedicated to providing a work environment that fully supports and fosters diversity and inclusion. DEC's mission of protecting the environment can only be successfully accomplished when we embrace the diversity, strengths, and talents of all our employees.

DEC Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

DEC is pleased to share the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Implementation Plan for Fiscal Years 2021-2026 (PDF). This plan outlines our priorities and goals as we continue to cultivate and promote a diverse and inclusive culture where employees feel welcomed and motivated to do their best. These goals and priorities reflect our commitment to support DEC diversity programs; promote continuous learning and discussion of diversity and inclusion topics; recruit qualified candidates of different backgrounds, experiences, and talents; provide internal developmental opportunities; and assess what more we can do to nurture a supportive and inclusive work environment.

Diversity Resources and Links

Resources include articles, podcasts, and blogs that present the perspective of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), Latino/a, and Latinx, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and other identities (LGBTQ+) and their experiences in the outdoors and in nature.


More about Diversity and Inclusion:

  • Pride Month Celebration - DEC celebrates Pride Month in June every year. DEC is proud to be a welcoming environment for all people.
  • Juneteenth Commemoration - New York celebrates Juneteenth as an official state holiday for the first time on June 19, 2021. Juneteenth (short for June 19th) commemorates African American freedom in our country. Its history goes back to June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that declared all enslaved people in Texas were free. While President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation a full two and a half years before the end of the war, it wasn't until the war's end that enslaved people in Texas knew they were free.
  • Hispanic Heritage Month - DEC is proud to observe Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 in honor of the history, culture, and influence of past and present generations of Hispanic New Yorkers.
  • Native American Heritage Month - DEC observes Native American Heritage Month in November as a time to reflect on our relationships with our Indigenous friends and neighbors here in New York and beyond.
  • Black History Month - February is Black History Month. View a special video from the NYS Veterans' Services celebrating Black veterans. Learn about outdoor organizations serving and celebrating people of color, including Outdoor Afro, Hunters of Color, Black Girls Hike Buffalo, and more.
  • Women's History Month - Women's History Month is celebrated each March. Get to know some of accomplished women at DEC.
  • Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month - In May, DEC celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Get to know several DEC employees who discuss their careers, heritage, and interests.
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