02 December 2022

Latino Conservation Week in Idaho

Written by: Adriana Melendez

Being able to have and host Latino Conservation Week for the first time in Idaho was truly an amazing experience. What Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge was able to accomplish with the support of two community members in the span of one month was incredible. Coming into LCW, the refuge knew we wanted to work with the community to create an event where the Latin community felt like they belonged. To do this, we attended community events like “Latinos Unidos” where we were able to talk directly with our target audience. Attending these events allowed us to share flyers that shared information on the importance of LCW. It was also a call for ideas as people were able to share what kind of events they would like to see and if interested, allowed the opportunity to step into a greater role in creating an event. Eventually after the event we did hear back from one community member who was very interested in supporting the refuge and who was also able to bring in another person onto the team. These two community members were mothers who were in the process of creating a bilingual outdoor club, called Peques Nature club. With their support we were able to go from hoping to have one event to having eight events throughout the week of LCW. These events consisted of an outdoor cooking class, learning about bees and beekeepers, a day at the lake, hikes, and participation in cultural activities at the park. During the events I was able to see families come and hear them say, “I didn’t know we had a place like this” and see both parents and children burst with questions. Being able to hear this and know we have shared new locations for them to explore and return to is just one of the steps of engaging the community. It provided resources and most importantly an opportunity to step away from city life and connect with nature once more. On the last day of LCW we had a closing ceremony at Mariposa Park, where we displayed the proclamation from the City of Boise. We also had Aztec dancers create a welcoming space and deeper connection not only with nature but also with our culture. I have learned over many years that outdoor recreation and connections with nature looks different for every culture. I was glad to see that LCW was able to create this opportunity for people to enjoy. I have hope and excited to see how in the years to come LCW in Idaho will be able to bring a variety of cultures together to be able to share the different ways they connect with nature.

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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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