News Releases

12 July 2023

Tenth Anniversy of Latino Conservation Week Kicks Off This Weekend (July 15 –23): Initiative Breaks Down Barriers to the Outdoors, Inspires Tomorrow’s Stewards

Category: News Releases

From July 15 to July 23, communities throughout the country will enjoy and connect with the great outdoors during the 10th Anniversary of Latino Conservation Week (LCW), an initiative of Hispanic Access Foundation. Latino communities, organizations, businesses, families and individuals will participate in a variety of activities, both in-person and virtual, like hikes, kayaking, park clean-ups, online expeditions, roundtable discussions, Q&A sessions, scavenger hunts, film screenings, etc., with more than 250 events being celebrated nationwide.

“Latino Conservation Week helps break down barriers for Latino communities to access public lands and waters, encourages new opportunities for engagement and inspires the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “It's been amazing to see the tremendous growth since we first launched the initiative in 2014 with 9 events, which has now grown to 250+ events nationwide celebrated by thousands.”

The Latino population in the U.S. has grown to more than 62.1 million people–more than 18 percent of the nation’s population– and is projected to become nearly one-third of the population by 2050. Yet a 2020 Outdoor Industry Association report found that only 11.6 percent of Latinos were engaged in outdoor recreation activities. In simple terms, the future of public lands and waters depends on engaging and welcoming our diverse youth and Latino communities to take care of it. But it doesn’t end with engaging with the outdoors. While advocacy has always been a part of LCW, following the third annual Latino Advocacy Week, the importance of the overlap between the two has only been heightened. The voice of the communities at the frontlines of climate change (Latino, Black, Indigenous communities) must be heard by national decision-makers. The platform created by Latino Conservation Week raises and highlights the voice of the Latino community in the decision-making process.

"Latino communities continue to prove they are passionate about the outdoors and hold a strong belief that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards, ” said Shanna Edberg, Hispanic Access Foundation’s Director of Conservation programs. “Yet many Black, Indigenous, Latino, and other communities of color nationwide face environmental racism from disproportionate exposure to toxins, air and climate pollutants, and a lack of access to nature. We hope this year’s events inspire Latinos to take action, advocate and bring these issues to the forefront to help bridge that gap.”

More than 250 parks, organizations and community groups have joined Latino Conservation Week as partners and sponsors. Sponsors of Latino Conservation Week include Climate Power, The Wilderness Society, Patagonia, REI, GoodCitizen, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

The activities span several states and a full listing of events is available at Celebrate online by following #LatinoConservationWeek2023 and #LCW2023 on social media.

At Latino Outdoors, we know that a lot can happen over ten years. With 2023 bringing us the 10th annual edition of Latino Conservation Week, we want to take a moment to say mil gracias to our longtime, cherished friends at Hispanic Access Foundation for spotlighting and celebrating Latine love for the outdoors,” said Luis Villa, Executive Director or Latino Outdoors. You created a celebration that has grown each and every year to become more reflective of the deeply rooted ethic of stewardship and conservation in nuestras comunidades latinas.

“As the first Latina representative to be elected on the western slope, I am proud to honor Latino Conservation Week along with the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus. The quality of our lives, and our livelihoods, depend on having a future with clean air, clean water, and thriving wild lands. As Latinos we have a deep history of relationship with the outdoors, and we are an integral part of the Colorado outdoors - through recreation, work, play, and conservation and climate justice efforts,” said Colorado State Representative Elizabeth Velasco of the 57th District and Co-Chair of the Colorado Democratic Latino Caucus.

“Latino Conservation Week is an amazing opportunity to showcase the passion Latinos across Western Colorado have for enjoying and protecting our public lands that provide us with clear air and water, jobs, and abundant recreational opportunities,” said Defiende Nuestra Tierra Director Omar Sarabia at Wilderness Workshop. “Defiende Nuestra Tierra and Wilderness Workshop are excited to be partnering with the US Forest Service and the City of Glenwood Springs to host ¡Celebremos al aire libre! on July 22nd in Glenwood Spring CO, which will provide opportunities for community members to go hiking, rafting, biking and participate in restoration of our public lands. The afternoon celebration truly brings our community together around a shared love of public lands and the out of doors.”

"Latino Conservation Week has become an indispensable space to celebrate Latino's love and respect for conservation, as stewards of the land. We are grateful for the outstanding work and leadership Hispanic Access Foundation has provided over the years, as we continue working together to protect our natural resources and expand the progress achieved," said Antonieta Cadiz, deputy executive director for Climate Power En Accion.

“Latino Conservation Week provides us all with an opportunity to reflect on the important contributions Latinos have made to conserving nature for people and wildlife,” said Andrea Keller Helsel, Program Officer at William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. “It also creates space for us to consider the proactive role each of us can play in making nature more accessible to all, including Latino community members who too often don’t feel safe or welcome in our public lands. The Hewlett Foundation is proud to support grantee partners like the Hispanic Access Foundation and celebrate culture afuera.”

“The San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex is proud to partner with the Hispanic Access Foundation to support events that inspire Latino communities to get outside and enjoy their public lands like national wildlife refuges,” said Nancy V. Fernandez; Park Ranger for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

“Resources Legacy Fund is a proud partner, collaborator and funder of Hispanic Access Foundation. Few organizations can match their effectiveness and broad outreach. Happy Latino Conservation Week!” said Deborah Love of Resources Legacy Fund.

“Latino Conservation Week represents a pivotal opportunity to unite the different Latine communities and drive change in the fight for equity, climate action, and a healthy environment,” said Melissa Cristina Márquez, Marine Biologist and PhD Candidate at Curtin University. “By emphasizing the importance of diverse voices and representation in conservation efforts, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all. This week serves as a powerful platform to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by Latine communities, while fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment to protect our natural ecosystems. Juntos, our comunidad can drive positive change and create a sustainable future for our planeta!”

“I am honored and excited to have a community focused conservation event as part of LCW,” said Jessica Drummond the Education and Outreach Coordinator at Great River Greening in St. Paul Minnesota. “It is well known that nature benefits us in many ways, but I invite communities to consider how we can benefit nature. The plants and animals we are intrigued by and the landscapes and waters we love to play in need our attention and care in exchange for the gifts they provide to us.”

"The Healthy Ocean Coalition congratulates Hispanic Access Foundation on 10 years of Latino Conservation Week!” said Jenna Valente, Director of Advocacy for Healthy Ocean Coalition. “This week serves as a powerful platform for highlighting and celebrating the invaluable leadership of the Latino community in the conservation of the Earth. The past decade of Latino Conservation Week has created a lasting legacy of positive change, and we're looking forward to all the good that the next decade will bring. We are honored to unite around this moment to celebrate Latino leadership in stewarding the planet."

“We are so excited to host three events for Latino Conservation Week this year,” said Karina Ornelas, Conservation Outreach Coordinator, San Diego Audubon Society. “The Latino community plays a huge role in local conservation efforts. Getting outside and partnering to preserve and restore our natural spaces has been an incredible way to bring communities together and learn from each other. These events offer space to connect and grow while enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. This is our fourth year hosting Latino Conservation Week events. Each year we look for new ways to make the outdoors more accessible, show that everyone is welcome and invited, and open doors to ongoing partnerships. We have seen an increase in participation each year, and it makes our hearts full to see everyone in the community coming together to preserve the places we love.”

“This is our first year partnering with Latino Conservation Week,” said Shley Suarez-Burgos Marketing and Partnerships Manager for Treesources. “In 2022, our company participated in a LCW event teaching about native plants and pollinators in Miami. We loved the community, the experience and outreach and decided to host our first event in 2023 teaching about native bats and the reclaimed local wood.”

"While Latino Conservation Week began as the effort of the Hispanic Access Foundation and its allies a decade ago, it's evolved into a celebrated week of Latinx community pride in our outdoors across urban or rural settings near and far. In our work to elevate our communities, we say — cheers to 10 years and those to come," said Marce Gutiérrez-Graudiņš, Founder and Executive Director of Azul, an environmental justice organization working with Latinxs to protect the ocean and coasts.

“For over a decade, Latino Conservation Week has created opportunities to raise our comunidades’ voices and come together to advocate for our livelihoods, the protection of Madre Tierra, and our rights to a healthy environment and an inclusive democracy. During this time, we celebrate and honor our connection to Madre Tierra and our ancestors while calling for transformative change to address and repair centuries of environmental racism. Chispa has participated in LCW with our families to ensure the preservation of our environment and equitable access to the outdoors is made real for all our Black, Indigenous and Latine communities.” Estefany Carrasco-González, Chispa National Director

"For many, the first step to environmental stewardship begins with access to enjoy and explore the great outdoors. Latino Conservation Week helps to shine the spotlight on the need to share, improve and advocate for recreational opportunities for Latine communities throughout the nation. Here in the Chesapeake Bay region, many partners hope to see these sentiments take center stage not just during Latino Conservation Week, but every day of the year." - Chesapeake Conservancy President & CEO, Joel Dunn

“Latino Conservation Week is a time to recognize and actively connect conservation and Latino culture. Everyone should have access to the outdoors and opportunities to experience outdoor recreation activities and traditional land-based practices, like fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking,” says Camilla Simon, executive director of Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO). “Latino Conservation Week is important because it allows the community to connect to each other and nature through different activities happening across the country and, through these experiences, get more Latinos involved in conservation efforts as their voices and perspectives are needed in this space to ensure equity and environmental justice.”

“Corazón Latino enthusiastically joins Latino Conservation Week in a joyful celebration of the remarkable environmental initiatives undertaken by Latinos across the nation,” said Felipe Benítez, Executive Director of Corazón Latino. “Over the past decade, Latinos have achieved significant milestones and left an indelible mark on the environmental stewardship movement. During this momentous tenth-anniversary celebration, we proudly pay homage to our vibrant culture and visionary leadership, uplifting the sacred bond that we share with Madre Tierra. Hand in hand, we are committed to fostering environmental justice and increasing representation within the conservation movement. We look forward to a future that is more equitable, sustainable, and harmonious for all.”

"As you may hear many of us say, Latino Conservation Week is our Super Bowl,” said Virginia Ansaldi, Latino Conservation Week Ambassador. “It is a chance for us to celebrate Latine joy in the outdoors. It is a chance for me to find my people! I have been participating in Latino Conservation Week for 8 of the 10 years and every year I look forward to hosting and attending events in Florida, as well as seeing all the events across the country on social media. As a Lead Latino Conservation Week Ambassador, I truly feel a sense of pride in seeing all the happenings across the country that my outreach has contributed to. Seeing the happiness of people of all ages shared in such special places across our country and celebrating the works for Latinxs across the country keeps me coming back to this work every year."

"In our community, Latino Conservation Week has created transformative outdoor experiences for many families while also providing a space for individuals to voice their support for the protection of public lands,” said Graciela Cabello, Director of Youth and Community Engagement for Los Padres ForestWatch. It's the time during summer that we look forward to every year. En nuestra comunidad, la Semana Latina de la Conservación ha creado experiencias transformadoras en la naturaleza para muchas familias al tiempo que brinda un espacio para que las personas expresen su apoyo a la protección de las tierras públicas. Es el momento del verano que esperamos todos el año".

“The support of LCW will get hundreds of families sailing and kayaking on Boston Harbor this week,” said Alex DeFronzo (he/him), Executive Director, Piers Park Sailing Center. “We are really grateful for the continued support of this event, it has become a key part of our community's summer programming.”

“Over the last ten years, Latino Conservation Week has built on the long legacy of Latinos as conservationists and environmental advocates,” said Chela Garcia Irlando, Executive Director, Next 100 Coalition. “LCW's continued success and engagement with people and communities will only strengthen our connection and stewardship to nature for generations to come."

“The Hispanic Access Foundation has encouraged me emotionally, technically and for Latino Conservation Week, financially to offset some of the costs that I incur out of pocket for our community service work to #SaveMiami,” said Silvio Frank, Latino Climate Council Member. “This gives me fuel to continue my dedication and encourages the local volunteers too, which work so hard to help bring awareness of climate conservation issues to the forefront in our vulnerable community of Miami and frontline communities. As a Latino leader locally, they have also reminded me of the importance to create bilingual materials and content which is enabling me to bring my own family closer to the causes that effect us. It's an honor and privilege to launch our #SaveMiami ArtWalk montlhy series for the 10 year anniversary of LCW 2023 for the majority minority city of Miami. VAMOS PA'LANTE MI GENTE!”

“Latino Conservation Week is a great initiative that provides opportunities for the Latinx community to enjoy and celebrate environmental conservation. I look forward to celebrating every year!” said Roxana Saravia, LCW Ambassador.

"A Decade, Diez años of excellence, advocacy, y apoya al prójimo, vosotros y nuestras communidades not only coming together para celebrar our intersections with blue, green, sandy, snowy, dry, hot, wet, cool, humid, buggy, vibrant and transformative environments around us. If we find ourselves on a mountain, in a desert, on a river, in the ocean; no matter where we find ourselves we are both tree and forest... like leaves dancing in the wind we do more than soar (Whedon, 2005) we rise to find los horizontes brillante to transcend las mañanas de injusticias, hoy! I, like many of you have (un)knowingly built Latino Conservation Week (LCW) on cuatro pillares which Stevenson (2015) co-created to help focus and realize cambios sociales, social changes we do alone y juntos. 1) Everyone se queda aproximado to our problemas de equidad, de conservation, clima, y salud ambiental/human; 2) abarcamos discomfort "porque estando cómodo/a/e", no es algo que heredamos; 3) we change-the-narrative just by showing and turning UP, co-creando una heredacion nueva para la generation que viene we are still lucky enough to be custodians y stewards of our planeta y mas our connections to and with it; y 4) prevenir desesperación because hopelessness si es el enemigo de justicia! When I think back to my first LCW even circa verano de 2019 seems like a lifetime ago eh, pero las memorias and what it meant to be knee deep en aguas de las humedales en los Everglade bajo de un Bald Cypress dome. Seguimos enfrentándonos y luchando for more than just 'rights' to access the environment, por mas que los "derechos" to be Black/Brown/Indigenous/Hispanic/Chicano/a/Latino/a/e and in Nature... Estamos peleando for freedoms to be 'responsible' for our environments, de la naturalez que nuestros pequeños have to grow, desarrollar, y proteger. LCW, is not just a "right" 10 years later, pero it is a celebration of our relationship(s) with the world around us, our responsibilities to each other, our planeta, y to the NXT Diez Years at LCW2033. But before we get there you will find me and mines either on /in the Florida water or behind a Bonsai next week... My Hope is to run into you one day... Whoever you are, if only to ask you, "Where were you during LCW 2023?" "Did you make Waves o Que Acciónes tomastes?" "What are we doing for LCW________?" - David Riera M.Sc., Ed.S. Olas Y Acción Advisory Council Member.

"Support from Hispanic Access Foundation goes beyond our own organization of Veggie Mijas. Our event during Latino Conservation Week was planned around sustainability, inclusion, and honoring the black & brown communities working to make green spaces and fresh food accessible available right in their neighborhood. The direct support received from Hispanic Access helped us get members of our chapter to our event who live in further cities, support a local soul food vegan restaurant from the DMV, and build a relationship with the community we were welcomed to help support on their intergenerational urban farm. Our organization appreciates the work Hispanic Access Foundation has done so we can continue to build these long lasting relationships in our community!" - Veggie Mijxs

"Pacific Education Institute serves as a link between schools and districts and community partners. It is a priority for us to connect with the community and learn what matters most to them in the education of their children and families, so we can be more successful in the resources we can provide to our educators. Participating in Latino Conservation Week helps us connect with the Latin American and Latin American Heritage communities. Our event will provide a safe space for women and their families to learn and visit. Through listening to each other, we will learn techniques for the garden, enrich our previous knowledge, and make new connections that can help us in our personal relationships as well as in our businesses." - Pacific Education Institute

“This is the first time our office is taking part in Latino Conservation Week. I am excited to be hosting this event and we had a lot of support and interests from organizations across Long Island interested in taking part. I hope this becomes an annual event for us and we are able to grow its audience and participation." - Shelby Casas, Coastal Program Manager, Audubon New York

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.