In 2005, the leadership of the then Berks County Conservancy created a long term vision of the outcomes of its efforts. In 2021 we modify that vision slightly to reflect how our own organization has changed over the past 16 years.
“The vision of Berks Nature is to be a cornerstone of excellence in the stewardship of the environment. Clearly identified with our special mission, we strive to meet the ever-changing needs of our community and seek to conserve its heritage and essential character. We provide time innovating, thinking and implementing how we can transform people’s relationship with nature.
We provide environmental leadership, direct action, expertise, land use planning, advocacy, research, and education programs in accordance with the natural, historic, social, economic, and technical needs of our region and its many local communities.
We are a well-funded organization staffed for the times who are strategic in our work and also nimble enough to meet emerging community needs and opportunities related to our mission. Our staff, administration and leadership are uniquely qualified and committed to our mission and to helping our region embrace conservation at a local community level. Our board of directors demonstrates general organization and financial comprehension and transparency seeking the very best practices of governance in our operations. We are committed to the creation of significant partnerships that directly support the needs of other local “on the ground” groups. We aspire to have our membership be active and engaged not only with Berks Nature, but also in their local communities.
We own and operate the LEED Gold certified The Nature Place at Angelica Creek Park and leverage the building and the park as a gathering place for schools, events, educational programs, and community needs. The Nature Place is known locally and regionally as a demonstration campus for environmental best management practices and a demonstration center for education and connection to nature.
We steward 425 acres of leased land, own 424 acres of preserves and manage nearly 27 miles of trails and seek to connect and share those assets with the public where and when that is compatible with our stewardship goals for those specific properties.
In the midst of modern pressures on the land, we help our community maintain a large, healthy, natural environment. We seek to support and encourage rational and sustainable land use planning and practices throughout the region.
In fulfilling these responsibilities we challenge and change attitudes, yet nurture a strong sense of respect and dignity for diverse disciplines and perspectives. We are recognized for our leadership and accomplishments. The impact of Berks Nature is readily visible – free flowing streams, natural vistas, open space and farmland, clean water, healthy forests and a robust citizenry connected to and advocating for, their environment.”
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice
We know that the conservation community has traditionally not been effective at involving certain cultures and ethnicities in conservation conversations, especially communities of color who face a disproportionate risk of harm from environmental hazards. We recognize, understand, and value the inherent worth of the differences of people and their cultures within our society, and understand the need to include a diverse audience in the conservation discussion in order to ensure future success, the achievement of our mission and the health of our communities.
In 2019 the board of directors adopted an inclusion statement and a method by which the organization can measure its progress toward the goal of “becoming more diverse and inclusive”. The public statement shared in our communications materials reads:
Just like it takes a diversity of species to make our natural environment thrive, Berks Nature recognizes that having a culture of inclusion where all individuals feel respected, and are treated fairly will bring us a power of talent to do our work and engage others in the love for and protection of nature. Accordingly, it is Berks Nature’s goal to be intentional and inclusive in the involvement, engagement, and empowerment of all groups of people within our community to help Berks Nature achieve its mission. Berks Nature will take the broadest possible view of diversity in order to attract, develop, engage and retain people from all walks of life and backgrounds in our work. Berks Nature endeavors to not see any species become extinct. So too, we desire not to neglect or exclude any audience from our work.
Commitment to Climate Change
With an increased global focus on the rapidly changing issues of climate change, Berks Nature remains committed to mitigating and restoring the effects of human impact on our planet. Humans have caused a pollution blanket around the world and we can fix it. Climate matters to everyone’s personal life; extreme weather, flooding, an overheating planet, the need for clean and cheap energy are issues our global community needs to solve for our lives and our livelihood. Climate change is at the intersection of all that Berks Nature does as an organization and we remain dedicated to helping to solve this problem. We will continue to work on environmental and conservation issues that help keep our local community safe, healthy and vibrant for our children, grandchildren and future generations to come.
Check out the Executive Summary of our Strategic Plan HERE!