February 16, 2023
Connecting Culture with Nature: Chris Durosinmi
- as seen by -Julie Larsen
Black History Month is a time to reflect on achievements by African Americans, embrace equality, and inspire future generations.
Wild View talked with Durosinmi about his role and how it motivates others.
WV: Tell me about your career at WCS.
CD: As Director of Government and Community Affairs for WCS, I thread the needle between policy, politics, conservation action, advocacy, and workforce development. In this role, I am able to combine community-organizing acumen with my personal passion for environmental protection and conservation and pay it forward.
I joined WCS in December 2017, focusing my efforts on building and strengthening relationships for the organization throughout New York while supporting the specific capital and operating needs of our New York Aquarium (above, California sea lion at the aquarium) and Bronx Zoo. I have also spearheaded initiatives at WCS that raised public awareness, implemented changes in city policy, and secured funding for wildlife conservation, education, and workforce development. Two such examples are our Give a Sip and Skip the Stuff campaigns, where we engaged youth, environmental advocates, local businesses, and more to address the plastic pollution crisis in New York City and implement policy to create a movement that convinced the countless communities of the city that a small change could have a significant impact.
In an effort to expand opportunities in STEM and conservation to people of color, particularly youth, who have historically been underrepresented in this ecosystem, I have helped to secure public funding for our two workforce development initiatives, our WCS STEM Career Lattice and Sci Network NYC. Both programs increase STEM-based career opportunities for youth throughout the city while helping young people benefit from an integrated network connecting them to resources across WCS and the field, providing opportunities for professional growth and exposure to the full spectrum of career trajectories.
WV: This Black History Month, how can we get more African Americans to seek careers in the field of conservation?
CD: We have to be intentional with highlighting careers in conservation, actively recruiting and training people from our communities to participate, and removing barriers that would prevent communities of color from embarking on these careers. Youth from black and brown communities generally are not exposed and encouraged to join this field in the same way they are encouraged to become lawyers, teachers, or doctors.