By Chris Gunter
One of Travis Audubon’s missions is environmental education, and this necessarily involves staff and volunteers having frequent contact with members and non-members alike in classes as well as on field trips. Our board strongly believes we have a responsibility to assure that everyone feels welcome, safe, and comfortable whenever engaged in Travis Audubon-sponsored activities. For this reason, our board appointed a task force to explore whether it was time for Travis Audubon to create a formal document setting out expectations for staff, volunteers and participants. The result is a newly enacted Code of Conduct, which you can read below. We encourage everyone to take a look at it and let us know if you have any questions about it. Staff, volunteers, members, and participants in TAS programming will be expected to comply with the provisions of this code.
Why did we feel like the time was right to formalize these expectations? The task force learned that most Audubon chapters in the U.S. have such codes of conduct or statements of ethics and determined that it was time for us to do so as well. Several of those codes were reviewed, and it is fair to say that many of the ideas in them have been incorporated into our own. The board also believes that our new Code of Conduct compliments our IDEA statement that was created last year, wherein we affirmed our commitment to create policies and strategies prioritizing inclusion, diversity, equity, and access in all of TAS’s mission and activity.
Formalizing this code confirms what we already know: friends and members of TAS are kind, conscientious, and responsible, and help us fulfill our mission every day. This statement serves as a way for us to be even more welcoming and open to everyone who wants to join us in the protection and enjoyment of birds.
Have questions or comments? Please email our Executive Director Nicole Netherton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travis Audubon’s Code of Conduct
Travis Audubon offers many programs and activities to its members and the public to share our passion and connect people with nature, inspiring everyone to be good stewards of birds and the environment. These programs are led by either staff or volunteers. We provide this statement of expectations for staff, volunteers and participants in Travis Audubon programs and activities because it is our goal to provide an enjoyable experience for those who participate in these programs and to provide a model of respect for birds and other wildlife.
Travis Audubon is committed to providing programming and field trips to members as well as non-members free of discrimination and harassment based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability, sexual orientation or identity, marital, or military service status, genetic information, or any other status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law. Participants in Travis Audubon programming are welcome to share their preferred pronouns with trip leaders or class instructors, if so desired, and those pronouns will be acknowledged and used.
Travis Audubon strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment. Any staff member, volunteer or participant experiencing, observing or becoming aware of conduct that violates this policy should immediately report the possible violation to the Executive Director or any officer of Travis Audubon.
Travis Audubon expects all staff, volunteers, and program participants to:
- Use kind, welcoming, and inclusive language, regardless of another participant’s birding knowledge, personal background, or new association with Travis Audubon.
- Not engage in or use racist, sexist, ableist, classist, homophobic, sizeist, or xenophobic behaviors or language.
- Be respectful of differing viewpoints, experiences, and cultures.
- Be mindful of others in your group and your surroundings.
- Show respect for all flora, fauna, and habitats encountered, according to the ABA birding code of ethics.
- Respectfully use cellphones and other electronic devices; engage in the ethical use of playback only with leader-approval.
- Be prepared for your own safety and comfort by wearing clothing and footwear suitable for the environment and weather.
- Remain aware of how others are using the space around you, including other members of the public; stay with the group, and avoid blocking trails or pathways.
- Acknowledge that staff and volunteer leaders have responsibilities to the entire group; make sure to leave space for other voices.
- Remember that the space where you bird and any loaned equipment you use are assets that many people use; please treat all with respect, care, and with safety as your priority.
- Respect all other relevant Travis Audubon policies. If you’re unsure, please ask.
- The following will NOT be tolerated:
- Any form of harassment, sexual or otherwise, including the use of sexualized language or imagery, any unwelcome physical contact, sexual attention, or advances, offensive or degrading language;
- Trolling, insulting and/or derogatory comments, or personal attacks;
- Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission. This includes disclosing or sharing any aspect of someone’s identity without their consent; and,
- Any conduct prohibited by law.
Travis Audubon will attempt to apply these rules in a fair and reasonable manner. Failure to comply with this code of conduct could result in the restriction of privileges.
Approved by the Board of Directors – July 8, 2021
Featured Image: American Avocet by Evan Barrientos/Audubon Rockies