From July 16 to July 24, communities throughout the country will enjoy and connect with the great outdoors during the 9th annual 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 about 200 events being celebrated nationwide.
“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 Maite Arce, President and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. “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. We first launched the initiative in 2014 with 9 events, and now it has grown tremendously to 170+ events nationwide.”
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, this year, following the second 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.
"The past few years, we’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected local communities from dying at higher rates, suffering from higher unemployment rates and worse economic outcomes, inability to work from home, healthcare disparities, etc.,” said Shanna Edberg, Hispanic Access Foundation’s director of conservation programs. “Armed with the knowledge from these experiences, we hope these year’s events are centered around encouraging Latinos to take action, advocate and bring these issues to the forefront to help bridge that gap.”
More than 200 parks, organizations and community groups have joined Latino Conservation Week as partners and sponsors. Sponsors of Latino Conservation Week include Southern California Edison, Apple, Patagonia, REI, Defenders of Wildlife, and HomeLight.
The activities span several states and a full listing of events is available at www.LatinoConservationWeek.com. Celebrate online by following #LatinoConservationWeek and #LCW2022 on social media.
SPONSOR AND PARTNER QUOTES
“It's difficult to overstate just how much Latino Conservation Week means to everyone at Latino Outdoors,” said Luis Villa, Executive Director of Latino Outdoors. “Launched in 2014 by our close friends and kindred spirits at Hispanic Access Foundation, this annual celebration has been instrumental in our efforts to visibilize and galvanize Latina/o/e leadership in conservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental education. It's been an honor to be a part of Latino Conservation Week from day one. ¡Que siga la celebración por muchos años más!”
“For me, LCW represents a day for community, connections, stewardship and familia. Celebrate our conservation legacy, while building power among our people,” said Juan Pérez Sáez, Executive Director of Environmental Learning for Kids. “46% of ELK's youth and families identify as Latino, Hispanic or Latinx. We can't let this LCW come by without kicking off the celebration in Denver on July 16. With over 200 people at our Education Center and Montbello Open Space Park, we will highlight the legacy of our community and our deeply rooted connection to mother earth.”
"I always look forward to Latino Conservation Week as a time where our community can come together to celebrate and enjoy our local national park in new ways,” said Chantelle Ruidant-Hansen, Visual Information Specialist of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. “San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is lucky to have a vibrant Latino community around our park, and through Latino Conservation Week we hope to bring the community together to recreate and be inspired at the historic missions."“Latino Conservation Week is particularly important during these polemic American times as it not only encourages Latinx participation in conservation, environmental education, and outdoor recreation, but celebrates the achievements and efforts, both current and historic, of Latinx communities across our country, and celebrates these as an integral part of our nation’s history and successes,” said Virginia Ansaldi, LCW Ambassador, Ocean Advisory Council Member & MANO Project Intern ‘15.