11 July 2023

Celebrating Ten Years of Latino Conservation Week: A Reflection

Category: Blog

My name is Martin Martinez, I am the Pastor of Cornerstone Assemblies of God in the city of San Bernardino, California. I have the pleasure to also be in the advisory council for Por La Creación Faith Based Alliance and Hispanic Leadership Network. Since 2014, My wife Veronica Martinez and I have participated, and led well over 20+ Latino Conservation Week (LCW) events from the Deserts of Coachella to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, from the Yosemite and Sequoia Mountains to the Florida Everglades, from our land even into the other space with NASA at Cape Canaveral. Every single event has been life changing not only to me and my family, but to the thousands of young people that have joined us.

I have way too many stories to talk about, too many experiences that have changed my life thanks to LCW and Hispanic Access Foundation. To see Latino Conservation Week go from the dream of a few and just a handful of events at the beginning with limited budgeting in 2014, to the hundreds of events reaching well over 10,000 people and countless of organizations has been nothing but a miracle in the making.

Through Latino Conservation Week in 2013-2014, we showcased the San Gabriel Mountains to a large group of teenagers and we spoke to them about advocacy and conservation. That day sparked an entire generation of young conversation stewards that helped in the advocacy effort to designate it. On Oct. 10, 2014, President Barack Obama designated 346,177 acres of existing federal lands as the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, the eighth national monument under U.S. Forest Service management. Hispanic Access Foundation’s CEO Maite Arce helped to foment and teach us that we as Latinos are not just meant to work the lands, but to help preserve them for generations to come. Through Latino Conservation Week, thousands young Latinos have been empowered to elevate their voices and speak up for the lands–including the designation as National Monuments of Sand to Snow, Castle Mountain and Mojave Trails.

Latino Conservation Week celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and I not only invite you, I urge you to join us in celebrating the 11th anniversary and beyond. To donate today $10 to these life-changing and worthy events that transform the lives of not just people and generations, but are helping to shape our lands for the better. My prayer in the following years is that we just don't celebrate Latino Conservation Week for a week alone, but we make the entire Month of July the month of Latino Conservation and the presidential administration with Hispanic Access Foundation makes that a reality. Congratulations Latino Conservation Week and congratulations to the many partners that make this a possibility.

Written by Martin Martinez Sandoval, Por La Creación Faith Based Alliance and Hispanic Leadership Network Advisory Council member.

LCW is an Initiative of:

Latino Conservation Week is a collection of events from variety of organizations. Hispanic Access Foundation is only directly responsible for events in which it is listed as a sponsor.