In celebration of Latino Conservation Week, Sequoia National Park will host 20 young Latino adults from Los Angeles, with support from Save the Redwoods League.
The students will collect scientific data on sequoias, hike the Giant Forest and learn about stewardship. The event will be led by a student from the Latino Heritage Internship Program, a joint partnership between the National Park Service and Hispanic Access Foundation.
“As the largest minority group in America – one that is expected to grow to nearly one-third the population by 2050 – the Latino community’s engagement is vital for the future success and protection of our nation’s public lands,” said Sam Hodder, President and CEO of Save the Redwoods League. “Together, we are celebrating this incredible sequoia forest and what our communities can do to help these ancient natural wonders flourish.”
The young adults, who are members of mission-minded ministry Impacto Juvenil, will help collect scientific data, work with park scientists to measure the diameter of the sequoias and learn about their ecology. Additionally, the participants will explore interactive exhibits to learn about the contributions Latino employees make to preserve the park’s resources.
“Latino Conservation Week provides a great opportunity for Sequoia National Park to reach new audiences,” said Woody Smeck, Superintendent of Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “This experience is one that changes perspectives on the grandeur of nature and encourages youth to take up stewardship to ensure places like this remain for future generations.”
Historically, Latinos have not been actively engaged to participate in our nation’s public lands. Even with widely documented support, only eight percent of Latinos engaged in outdoor recreation in 2015, according to the Outdoor Foundation. Latino Conservation Week helps to break down barriers to the Latino population’s enjoyment of public lands, encourages new opportunities to experience these sites, creates a unique platform for groups to reach out to this community and inspires the next generation of environmental stewards.
“Latinos are passionate about enjoying the outdoors and hold a strong belief that we have a moral obligation to protect it for future generations,” said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation, which launched Latino Conservation Week in 2014 in its effort to showcase this community’s commitment to the outdoors and provide opportunities for engagement. “The week’s events will introduce Latinos to new opportunities, new locations and new ways to translate their passion for the outdoors into making a difference for our nation’s treasured natural resources.”
Latino Conservation Week is being held July 15 – 23 through the nation. More than 100 events are being held by national and state parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges, as well as national and community groups. For information about events, please visit www.latinoconservationweek.com.