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Eighth Annual Latino Conservation Week Kicks Off This Weekend (July 17 –25),

Initiative Breaks Down Barriers to the Outdoors and Inspires Tomorrow’s Stewards

Communities throughout the country will enjoy and connect with the great outdoors during the 8th annual Latino Conservation Week (LCW), an initiative of Hispanic Access Foundation. From July 17 through July 25, Latino communities, organizations, families and individuals will participate in a variety of activities, both virtual and in-person, like hikes, park clean-ups, online expeditions, roundtable discussions, Q&A sessions, scavenger hunts, film screenings, etc., with nearly 140 events being celebrated nationwide.

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PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE: Report: CA Latino Heritage Sites Need Greater Protection, Recognition

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Sites tied to Latino history and culture are underrepresented on the list of historic places, according to a new report from the Hispanic Access Foundation.

The study, called "Place, Story and Culture," identifies seven sites it said deserve more recognition and protection, including three in California.

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NBC LATINO: Latino heritage sites, including a park, river and bodega, need preservation, group urges

Latino preservationists listed a Dominican-owned bodega in Providence, Rhode Island, an east Los Angeles park that served as the gathering place for historic Chicano student walkouts, and five other locations as Latino heritage sites in urgent need of conservation.

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New Report Highlights Seven Latino Heritage Sites in Need of Protection

A new report, Place, Story and Culture: An Inclusive Approach to Protecting Latino Heritage Sites, released today by the Latino Heritage Scholars, an initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation, emphasizes the need for the protection of seven Latino heritage sites that embody the architectural, cultural and deep historical roots of the Latino community currently in need of preservation. The scholars are a group of young Latino professionals focused on historic preservation and ensuring that Latino history is protected, shared, and celebrated as part of the U.S. narrative.

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Latest Blog

Final Sentiments

I am in the final weeks of my summer position as a DFP (Directorate Fellows Program). This has been a very enjoyable experience overall, and has given me a unique insight into what it is like to work in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Throughout this summer I have had experiences and gained skills that are applicable in both a professional career and my personal life as well. I have also been able to meet and connect with a large number of employees in the office who have shown how the Fish and Wildlife Service operates as a close and tight knit community with underlying values that align with my own. 

During this fellowship, I have been able to interact with a variety of people both within and outside of the USFWS. This has shown me the extent of cross-communication that occurs between different people and agencies in order to fulfill an overall mission of conservation. For example, I was responsible for requesting annual report documents from land managers and addressing issues seen on our site visits to ensure that they were in compliance with the legal conservation banking agreements. To do this I had to ensure that I had to carefully articulate the language I used to avoid any accusatory tone that would upset the bank managers. Various tasks I performed in my fellowship have helped me to further develop my communication skills on a professional level. This has given me a greater sense of confidence for using these skills while working in a career-based setting. 

One thing that has really stood out to me is the closeness of the people working here. Throughout this summer, I have heard many people express how the office staff are like a family and all share the same passion for conservation. This all sounded nice when being spoken, but I have also found that my first-hand experiences match these sentiments. I have had various people working in the office reach out to me asking if there are any experiences or office positions I want to learn more about. Many of the employees here are past DFP’s who seem eager to ensure that I get the most out of my experience. They did not need to reach out and help me at all; most aren’t working with my supervisor or affiliated with my project. I think a lot of it is due to the fact that people do not pursue a career in the USFWS for wealth or material desires, but for an inherent passion towards conserving this country's native wildlife and landscapes. 

I have personally seen how invested everyone in the office seems to be in helping each other and ensuring the success of DFPs like myself. I have come to admire how the employees here are united by an overarching passion for conservation which creates a genuine closeness and friendliness that I have not seen anywhere else. In my short time here, I feel that I have been openly embraced into the community of the Fish and Wildlife Service, and regardless of where I end up, I hope to find a future career where I feel the same sense of support and belonging. 

A picture of one of the site visits I went on to San Luis Del Rey Conservation Bank. Six years ago, this used to be a barren agricultural field for farming tomatoes. Now it is a thriving riparian habitat that is occupied by various native species, including least bell’s vireo which is listed under the Endangered Species Act. The bank is currently overseen by the U.S. Army Corps and California Department of Fish and Game, and soon the USFWS will be added as a signatory to ensure compliance for supporting least bell's vireo. I think this photo is a good depiction of how much can be achieved in a seemingly short period of time when multiple people and agencies work together to achieve a common goal of wildlife conservation.

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office

A Trip to Southern California

Week four of my internship began and I left my quiet little town on the Central Coast for crowded Southern California.  I planned this trip to tour the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife office, see some salt marsh bird’s beak and light-footed ridgeway’s rails, and visit the refuges. As a result, I found myself trying to be a good, non-complaining house guest while forced to stay up late and listen to Six the musical at my cousin’s house in Carlsbad, San Diego. 

The first day of my trip I met up with a biologist whose name seemed famous to me after reading almost all of his literature on salt marshes. I met this previous Fish and Wildlife employee at the Newport refuge where we weeded a bit of Algerian and European sea lavender and talked rails and bird’s beak all morning. He even showed me stands of bird’s beak much larger than the one’s I had previously seen in Morro Bay.  

The week went on and I visited some other important sites. I toured the Carlsbad office and visited the Sweetwater Marsh and Tijuana Estuary. At the Sweetwater Marsh, I was fortunate enough to shadow a group of biologists as they placed fancy and expensive GPS and satellite trackers on light-footed ridgway’s rails. Not only was it exciting to physically see the species I only knew about from literature, but I also found myself geeking-out over the GPS and satellite trackers my elephant seal lab from school has been trying to obtain for years. I wish that I had a picture to show of the rails and trackers, but unfortunately the day before I dropped and broke my phone. 

Later that sunny Friday after a tour of the Tijuana Estuary, I went searching for light-footed ridgeway’s rail in the wild. I, along with a few other DFP’s I met in person, walked a trail adjacent to the estuary. Within minutes, a rail emerged out of the dense wetland vegetation to forage along the mudflats. As fast as it appeared, the rail disappeared into the cordgrass. 

This trip was truly the highlight to my internship. I loved being able to meet a few DFP’s, my supervisor, and some other Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife employees.  I feel so appreciative that I was able to step out of this virtual world and travel to San Diego. Not only was it amazing to see the major role the Service plays down in Southern California, but it was good for me to temporarily step out of my tiny bubble in San Luis Obispo. 

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office

My First “Business Trip:" Harper’s Ferry Center, WV

My time interning for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. has been exhilarating and rewarding.

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Final days

Its the final few days of my fellowship, I've met so many awesome people and learned so much, not just about the animals I worked with but also about the FWS, how to work more efficiently, how to conduct meetings, send professional emails and so much more. I think no matter where I go in life I will have benefitted so much from this fellowship that the little time I spent here will aid me for years.

 

Its sad that things are ending but I am excited to get back into school and see what awaits me next.

 

Here is one last picture of my new favorite type of snake, striped racers (after the Alameda Whipsnake)

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Sacramento Regional Office

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