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Diversity and Inclusion

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time designated to honor the many achievements and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Established in 1977, the month-long tribute celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of the richly diverse group of people originating from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Guam, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, the Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

May was chosen in honor of the first documented arrival of Japanese immigrants to the United States on May 7, 1843. This year's theme for AAPI Heritage Month is "Advancing Leaders Through Collaboration". We at DEC understand that collaboration breeds diversity and inclusion which, in turn, spur innovation. DEC is committed to embracing and encouraging collaboration across all agency operations to ensure a culture that nurtures and promotes diversity in positions of leadership representative of New York's richly diverse population.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
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