About Us - Gulf of Mexico Alliance Diversity
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) Environmental Education Network (EEN) formed the Underserved and Underrepresented Populations (UUP-see definitions below) Workgroup in 2006, as a result of the first Governor’s Action Plan for Healthy and Resilient Coasts. The first Action Plan states: “Develop and host a pilot program to engage underrepresented and underserved communities in Gulf stewardship activities related to the Alliance strategic priorities.” Volunteers from the Gulf region began collaborating through conference calls, meetings, and programs.
Interest and support for experiential environmental education working with underserved and underrepresented populations continued to grow. State and regional projects emphasizing program design, delivery and evaluation methods that address race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and culture continued as the EEN broadened. Through the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program and NOAA Coastal Services Center, funding was awarded to support regional projects. The UUP Workgroup meets monthly by conference call to share successes, challenges and discuss possible partnerships. Guest speakers often join the call to share advice and experience on reaching diverse audiences with environmental education. The Action Plan II for 2009-2014 tasks the EEN with continuing to implement programs targeted to UUP. For involvement, contact Suraida Nanez-James.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-Gulf of Mexico Program (GMP) has expanded efforts to include underserved and underrepresented communities in its decision-making process. These communities are often comprised of minorities with low social economic backgrounds usually of African American, Hispanic, Asian American, and Native American ethnicity. This group possesses the greatest need for environmental awareness and is often exposed to environmental dangers. Through EPA’s agreement with the National Council on Aging, the GMP has enrolled three persons to serve as Community Liaison Specialists. These individuals are charged with assessing the needs of vulnerable populations and working with local organizations, state agencies, and federal entities to address those concerns. The Liaisons will work in partnership with communities to improve living conditions, promote sustainability, and diminish barriers to restoration. To learn more about the Gulf of Mexico Program and the Community Liaisons contact LaKeshia Robertson.
The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Ambassadors were brought together in 2010 through a collaboration of the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program and the NOAA Gulf Coast Services Center. The Ambassador charge was to represent underserved and diverse communities around the U.S. Gulf of Mexico states. These individuals were chosen to act as a voice for their communities; engaging GOMA priority issue teams. In 2011, GOMA adopted the group and they drafted goals and objectives for action. To reach a member of this group, contact Ann Weaver or Suraida Nanez-James.
Underserved Populations: Any group or population (defined by race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, geographic setting, or culture) whose access to or participation in educational programs related to the coastal environment and natural resource management is limited.
Underrepresented Groups: The racial and ethnic groups that have traditionally and are currently underrepresented in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans)