Sponsored by Shenandoah Riverkeeper, U.S. Forest Service, NorthBay Adventure, Hispanic Access Foundation, and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, RioPalooza! celebrated the Shenandoah River and the sixth annual Latino Conservation Week. Participants were able to enjoy tubing, snorkeling, fishing, as well as the fish petting zoo and a performance by Mister G.
“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 and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.”
RioPalooza! looks to get as many people as possible out on the river that have never been before, which helps introduce them to where to go or what to do. This type of engagement is critical to the long-term security of places like the Shenandoah River.
“As the Shenandoah Riverkeeper, our partners and I had so much fun working together to expand our reach to audiences which value our rivers, but don't always have the access to enjoy them. RioPalooza is such an effort, now in its second year, for us to share in the celebration of the Shenandoah River and Latino Conservation week, and help our Latino neighbors living in the Shenandoah Valley to more fully enjoy this beautiful resource,” said Mark Frondorf, Executive Director of Shenandoah Riverkeeper.” “Over 125 our our new friends enjoyed the river with us, and the music of Latin Grammy Award winner, Mr. G. If each of us encouraged a few of our neighbors and family members to come out and enjoy the day next year, RioPalooza will be even bigger and more fun!”
Latinos are the largest minority group in America 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, a nationwide initiative launched by Hispanic Access Foundation in 2014, helps create opportunities for Latinos across the country to demonstrate their passion for enjoying the outdoors and to cultivate their role as environmental stewards. More than 200 organizations, parks and agencies are anticipated to celebrate LCW with as many as 150 events across the country.