“Latinos are passionate about enjoying the outdoors and hold a strong belief that we have a moral obligation to protect it for future generations,” said Maite Arce, president of Hispanic Access Foundation, which launched Latino Conservation Week in 2014 in its effort to showcase this community’s commitment to the outdoors and provide opportunities for engagement. “The week’s events will introduce Latinos to new opportunities, new locations and new ways to translate their passion for the outdoors into making a difference for our nation’s treasured natural resources.”
Historically, Latinos have not been actively engaged to participate in our nation’s public lands. Even with widely documented support, only eight percent of Latinos engaged in outdoor recreation in 2015, according to the Outdoor Foundation. Latino Conservation Week helps to break down barriers to the Latino population’s enjoyment of public lands, encourages new opportunities to experience these sites, creates a unique platform for groups to reach out to this community and inspires the next generation of environmental stewards.
“As the largest minority group in America – one that is expected to grow to nearly one-third the population by 2050 – the Latino community’s engagement is critical to ensuring the future success and preservation of our nation’s public lands,” said Arce. “We appreciate the vast number of event partners and sponsors who recognize the importance of encouraging more Latinos to go outdoors and experiencing all that our nation’s public lands have to offer.”
Nearly 60 parks, organizations and community groups have joined Latino Conservation Week as sponsors and event partners. These include National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, U.S. Forest Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, REI, Por la Creacion: Faith-based Alliance, Latino Outdoors, Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Sierra Club, COFEM, Atlanta Audubon Society, Los Angeles Audubon Society, Wilderness Society, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, Conservation Lands Foundation, Impacto Juvenil and Latinos for Parks. A full list of participating groups is available here.
“The growth in participation and interest of Latino Conservation Week has been tremendous. What started as 17 events in six states has grown – in just three years – to more than 100 events in as many as 17 states,” said Arce. “This is a collaborative effort with the potential to have a significant positive impact on the Latino community and our nation’s treasured spaces.”
Events are currently scheduled in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. A full list of confirmed events is available at http://www.latinoconservationweek.com/index.php/events.