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Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council Announces Diversity Training Series, Adds New Affiliates

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Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council Announces Diversity Training Series, Adds New Affiliates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Thursday, March 20, 2015

KEENE, N.Y. – The Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council (ADAC) today announced the launch of a diversity training series to be held on a continuing basis throughout the Adirondack Park.

ADAC’s mission is to develop and promote strategies to help the Adirondack Park become more welcoming and inclusive of all New Yorkers, both visitors and permanent residents.    The target audience for the training sessions includes education, service and thought leaders from throughout the Adirondack Park.

The first event will be held on March 24.  ADAC also announced two new affiliate organizations.

ADAC believes that a more inclusive Adirondack Park will benefit not only the citizens of New York but the economic, social and political health of the Park as well. In order to fulfill this mission ADAC has begun to develop a series of initiatives in training and education, transportation, youth pipelines, arts and culture, targeted outreach and best practice consulting.

The diversity training series is a cornerstone of ADAC’s mission and a top priority for the team.  “We all need to learn more about each other and the diversity of people and cultures in our evolving world,” said ADAC Coordinator Pete Nelson.  “These training workshops and sessions will help us to build cultural competency in the Park, to everyone’s benefit.”

The inaugural ADAC training event will be a Diversity Training Workshop with human rights activist and anti-bias educator Ellen Bettmann.  The workshop will be held at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake on Tuesday, March 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Registration for this first event is already full.

This workshop was spurred by Stephanie Ratcliffe, Executive Director of the Wild Center: “As one of the major attractions in the Park we wanted to make sure that we were being as welcoming as possible,” said Ratcliffe. “This training is important to ensure that we do not have blind spots or when interacting with a diverse public and inadvertently send unfriendly messages to some of our guests.

“We are so fortunate to have an experienced and passionate diversity expert and trainer right in our backyard,” Ratcliffe continued. “Ellen knows how to work with groups like ours but also knows the Adirondacks—that will be invaluable going forward as she guides us in this work.”

The second ADAC training event, also to be held at the Wild Center, will be a workshop on sexual orientation and gender variance.  This workshop will be on Saturday, May 16 and will be open to a wide audience.  It will be led by renowned diversity trainer Brian McNaught.

Named "the godfather of gay sensitivity training" by The New York Times, McNaught is considered the world's leading corporate diversity consultant dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues in the workplace. He is also the best-selling author of four watershed books on gay issues, all of which are used as college texts. 

“The workshop on sexual orientation and gender variance will enable participants to increase their understanding of the issues, thus increasing their ease and ability to effectively be of good service in their personal and professional lives,” said McNaught.  “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues are among the most challenging for some people because of their lack of familiarity with the culture. Like all diversity initiatives, the goal of this workshop is to create cultural awareness and competency.”

A third training event is being developed by Environmental Philosopher Marianne Patinelli-Dubay of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) Northern Forest Institute.  This session will be offered in the summer.  In addition, a second annual diversity symposium is scheduled to be held at the Northern Forest Institute in August.

ADAC also announced the addition of two organizations to its growing list of affiliates.  The new affiliates are Paul Smith’s College and the Central Adirondack Partnership (CAP-21).  The role of ADAC affiliates is to offer advice and support, as well as engage and participate in those initiatives that fit their role in the Adirondack Park.

ADAC was formed as an outcome of the symposium “Towards a More Diverse Adirondacks,” held in Newcomb in August 2014.  Pete Nelson ( is the current coordinator.

A list of other affiliate organizations is available at:

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