Our Commitment to Diversity

NALMS strives to make our Society a safe, welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment for everyone. In 2018, with input from the full membership, the Board of Directors adopted a Code of Conduct for events. In 2019, the Board adopted a Diversity Statement and dedicated our 40th anniversary in 2020 as the Year of Diversity.

The NALMS leadership collaborated on a statement released on June 5, 2020, in response to recent racial violence and mass demonstrations in the U.S. and across the globe and acknowledged that more actions are needed.

NALMS commits to continuing our efforts to create an equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization while we advance lake management and science. We have created this web page with information about actions NALMS is taking and how our members can help our Society and the broader lake management community bring about this change.

Proposed Action Items
(as of June 3rd, 2020)

Establish a Task Force ✔

At the June 2020 Board meeting, a Task Force was established to identify and coordinate the implementation of an action plan at all levels of the organization, including with committees, programs, and events. Mark Rosenkranz, Sarah Burnet, Perry Thomas, Liz Favot, Lisa Borre, Keiko Wilkins, Vinicius Taguchi, and Alyssa Anderson (NALMS staff) have volunteered so far to lead this effort and coordinate with respective committees that they serve on: Ethics, Communications, and Development. Other members are invited to join the new Task Force and/or provide feedback and ideas via email to diversity@nalms.org.

Reflect on the NALMS Strategic Plan, Mission and Programs

In light of recent events and inequities that have been revealed, all committee chairs, program liaisons, staff, board, and the Executive Committee should take time to review current and future planned activities and operations and have conversations with colleagues to identify ways to end racial injustice and find opportunities for creating a more equitable, diverse and inclusive organization and lake management community. The Task Force should identify a process and timeline for reporting back with ideas and recommendations.

Mentoring Program

Through the student program, NALMS has created ways to pair students with mentors who attend the annual symposia through a lunch event and resume review activity, but more could be done to create a more meaningful program that also places a priority on creating and supporting more diversity. Other organizations (e.g., ESA SEEDS and AFS Mentoring) have established effective mentoring and/or scholarship programs. NALMS should consider the establishment of a more robust mentoring and scholarship program, in addition to the already established student travel awards and recognition programs, not just with the goal of helping students, but also for mentoring and supporting students and early career professionals from diverse backgrounds.


With board elections on the immediate horizon, the Executive Committee and Board should identify ways to reach out and recruit more diverse representation, especially Black colleagues and POC, in general, for the upcoming election, future elections, and committee assignments.

Education, Outreach, and Engagement

In recognition that many in the field of lake management and science have chosen this as a career path or volunteer activity because of life experiences with lakes or nature in their childhood or as a young adult or because a parent, teacher, camp counselor, coach or other person in their lives provided encouragement and support, NALMS should consider opportunities for education, outreach, and engagement with underrepresented groups in our organization, especially Black youth and POC, in general. The annual symposia and other events provide an immediate opportunity to work with the public and organize these types of activities.

Communications and Reporting

We should strive to communicate information and report on progress toward meeting Task Force recommendations. This can begin with creating this web page dedicated to Diversity that describes efforts underway or planned in the near future and includes a list of resources. It could also include reporting on Diversity and racial justice initiatives in the Annual Report, and for example, be incorporated into the revisions to the Communications Manual and Task List that are currently underway.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is it necessary for NALMS to speak out on racism and inequality?

    NALMS strives to make our Society a safe, welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment for everyone. We also believe our efforts are enhanced by including a diversity of people and voices. Recent events have revealed how pervasive racism is in the U.S., Canada, and beyond, including in the sciences and the environmental management field in general, but also in the lake and watershed communities where NALMS members and partners live and work. We cannot accomplish our mission “To forge partnerships among citizens, scientists, and professionals to foster the management and protection of lakes and reservoirs for today and tomorrow” without doing our part to address racism that causes harm and inequity for our members, the broader lake management community, and society as a whole.

  • Where can I find the NALMS Diversity statement?

    Diversity for NALMS means creating a community of inclusion. We respect and value the unique contributions and perspectives of all members, employees, event participants, students, volunteers, and our local and international communities. Diversity includes age, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, national origin, color, race, religion, sexual orientation, diversity of thought, ideas, and more. Diversity maximizes our true potential for creativity, innovation, and collaborative problem solving. NALMS strives to cultivate a Society built on mentorship, encouragement, tolerance, and mutual respect, thereby engendering a welcoming environment for all. NALMS promotes diversity in all areas of activity, including fostering diversity in membership, leadership, committees, staff, outreach, public engagement, recruitment, and all other areas of Societal activity.

    The NALMS Board of Directors adopted this statement in March 2019.

  • Does NALMS have an established Code of Conduct for the annual symposia and other events?

This is an active page that will evolve as more resources become available. Please contact our task force at diversity@nalms.org if you would like to join the conversation.

Read NALMS statement on racism and equality, released on June 5th, 2020.