17 May 2022

The Start of a Community

Written by: Adriana Melendez

As I began this internship, I came to learn the history and importance of Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge. Being able to see how this place has provided many recreation opportunities for people and a haven for wildlife for over hundreds of years was amazing. Not only this but knowing that Deer Flat National Refuge was a man-made reservoir that was able to turn into a haven for wildlife gives me hope for the future. To me it shows that people and nature are not different entities, but one in the same. There is space for both wildlife and humans to coexist, we simply must realize its beauty and natural benefit to provide it space to grow. Going over the orientation material, I discovered that the staff members at Deer Flat were at the beginnings of implementing the Urban Wildlife Conservation Program (UWCP). This allowed them to self-reflect on who was benefiting from the refuge and who was still being left out of the picture. UWCP focuses on connecting people with outdoor recreation opportunities, this is especially important as eighty percent of Americans are living in and around cities. I have always wanted to help my Latin community and being able to combine it to my passion of conservation and nature is a such a great opportunity. I have already had the chance to bond and learn more about the community and the issues they find the most important. By attending these kinds of events, the refuge hopes to gain a better understanding on the barriers that the Latinx community face when accessing a green space and want to help break them down. The passion for creating a community that can rely on and support each other is a difficult task to start, but I know it will be worth the struggle. As I translate documents about the refuge into Spanish, I always take this into mind. To native English speakers, it becomes easy to not notice how something so small can become a barrier. By simply turning the “Bird Observation” pamphlet into Spanish, that gives so many others the access to new information and a new way to enjoy being outside. As these next few months continue, I hope to continue to help the Latinx community and learn more about how different organizations and leaders can come to overlap with wildlife. 

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

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Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

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