By Kelsey Mackey
A passion for conservation is a universal concept shared by people of all countries, cultures, and ethnicities. For many, caring for the environment is motivated by personal experiences and an appreciation for the natural world. This week, July 16-22, is Latino Conservation Week, highlighting the Latino passion for the outdoors, role in conservation, and improving the lives for this generation and the next.
Latino Conservation Week is about providing opportunities for Latinos to come together and express their passion for the outdoors, with various activities across the country being offered to help foster the connection we feel with the environment.
Goals of Latino Conservation Week include providing families and youth with outdoor recreation opportunities near their homes, demonstrating the Latino community’s commitment to conservation, and working with community leaders and organizations to support conservation issues important to the community.
The Service supports Latino Conservation Week through a partnership with the Hispanic Access Foundation to connect diverse college students to careers in natural resource conservation. Meet three of the fellows below!
Meet Ivette Lopez
Ivette is originally from San Jose, California and graduated from Yale University last year with a Bachelor’s degree in geology, geophysics and Spanish. She is working at Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, working to connect people to the outdoors in New Haven, Connecticut.
Meet Michael Bonilla
Michael is originally from the Dominican Republic, where he encountered a passion for agriculture and the outdoors. Michael graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor’s degree in environmental and natural resource economics and minor concentrations in Spanish and leadership. He’s doing outstanding work in Providence, supporting national wildlife refuges in Rhode Island.
Meet Ariel Martinez
Ariel is a sophomore at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She’s majoring in environmental science and policy with the goal of addressing matters of environmental justice. She is working at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in upstate New York.