Case Study


Reaching Diverse Communities in the Chesapeake Bay



The Chesapeake Bay watershed covers 6 states which have signed a compact to protect it.

It takes effort to assure underserved neighborhoods enjoy the benefits of trees.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Humid subtropical

The Chesapeake Bay program

The six states comprising the watershed, federal agencies, local and state governments and non-profit groups established a diversity work group to assess whether all communities receive the whole range of benefits from urban trees. The answer? They discovered they don’t. Some of the reasons why are listed below.

Inadequate communication and outreach

Some state and local governments, federal agencies and nonprofits are not effectively using diverse media channels to bring opportunities directly to communities. Government agencies use highly technical language, littered with acronyms,when discussing Bay issues.

Lack of employment opportunities and professional engagement presents challenges

A lack of diverse people in leadership roles at state, local and nonprofit levels limits the ability of diverse groups to influence decisions — even to create the trust relationship on which partnerships must rest.

Lack of community-based organization capacity

Smaller community-based groups representing diverse neighborhoods typically lack the capacity and infrastructure to take advantage of or fully participate in programs related to Bay Program protection and restoration activities — even when simply applying for grants.

Lack of metrics and tracking tools

Some jurisdictions and agencies currently do not have the necessary tools to track diversity in their workforce or diversity-focused programs. Similarly, many nonprofit partners do not have goals, metrics or tools to track diversity among their staff, board, group members and volunteers.

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