“Latino communities 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, which launched LCW in 2014. “Latino Conservation Week was established to break down barriers for Latino communities to access public lands, encourage new opportunities for and outreach to these communities to use public lands and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.”
Latinos are the largest minority group in America, with over 52 million people making up 16.7 percent of the nation’s population and are projected to become nearly one-third of the population by 2050. By 2020, half of all youth in America will be of color and by 2043, a majority of our country’s residents will be people of color. Yet a 2018 Outdoor Industry Association report found that only 10 percent of Latinos were engaged in outdoor recreation activities. In simple terms, the future of public lands depends on engaging and welcoming our diverse youth and Latino communities, that already deeply care about our environment and feel a moral obligation to take care of it.
“Latino Conservation Week was purposely created to start bridging that gap through the engagement of new partners and connecting them with more members of this community,” said Arce. “What started as 17 events in six states has grown to more than 150 events in as many as 25 states,” said Arce. “This is a national collaborative effort with the potential to impact Latino communities in large urban settings, emerging Latino communities, and in rural communities that aim to celebrate our heritage, culture, spirituality, and stories around our nation’s treasured natural places.”
This year the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Wildlife Refuge System and Bureau of Land Management are joining forces with Hispanic Access Foundation’s MANO Project and Conservation Program to provide programming at sites throughout the nation. More than 200 parks, organizations and community groups have joined Latino Conservation Week as partners and sponsors. Event partners include George H.W. Bush Vamos A Pescar™ Education Fund, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation,, REI, Por la Creacion Faith-based Alliance, Latino Outdoors, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Nature for All, COFEM, The Wilderness Society,, Latin American Youth Center, Frontera Land Alliance, Montgomery Parks, Sierra Club, numerous Audubon Society chapters, Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Corazon Latino, and Centro de Adoración Familiar.
The activities span several states and a full listing of events is available at www.LatinoConservationWeek.com. Celebrate online by following #LatinoConservationWeek and #LCW2019 on social media.