Land Conservation Heroes
Patricia Wilson is an environmentalist, community leader and social justice advocate. She is passionate about diversifying the environmental field. In 2021 Patricia founded Diverse Nature Collective (DNC) – a grassroots organization that works to empower, mobilize and create space for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour within the environmental movement and to reduce barriers to racialized folks in accessing nature. Patricia is also the new Coordinator of Community Race Relations Committee of Peterborough (CRRC) which centers her in anti-racism / decolonization education work and advocacy for BIPOC community members.
As a member of OLTA’s Board, Patricia recently shared her perspectives in a Q and A in celebration of Black History Month.
What do you enjoy about being on the OLTA Board of Governors?
I get to help support the development of policy and strategic goals that will have a positive impact on Land Trusts across the province – in particular, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) focused goals and policies. I also really love that I get to connect and work with like-minded individuals who have a passion for conservation and for getting as many people involved in this work as possible!
What is one of your favourite memories in nature?
Some of my favourite memories in nature have actually happened over the last couple of years! Through Diverse Nature Collective, I have had the opportunity to collaborate and partner with other BIPOC-led organizations (Let’s Hike TO, Black Canadian Hikers, Black Men’s Therapy Fund, Women of Colour Durham, to name a few) to provide curated nature connection experiences that were created specifically for racialized individuals. This to me has been the most meaningful part of my work because I get to help facilitate programming that brings people together, that builds community, and creates a space that is very intentional in prioritizing the comfort and safety of racialized folks in the outdoors.
What’s your vision for nature in Ontario?
Nature is incredible, complex and ever changing with its unique ecosystems that provide shelter, food and life to millions of species and organisms – it doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t act in malice… it just exists. We as humans can learn so much from our natural world and apply it to the ways in which we treat one another. My vision for nature in Ontario is that more of it is protected and that diverse voices, perspectives and knowledge systems are prioritized at the forefront of conservation efforts so that we can create long lasting and sustainable solutions to protect ourselves and our planet. When we can come together and do this, our natural environment will thrive for decades to come.