Across the country and here on the Central Coast, Latino Conservation Week takes place July 17-25. Latino Conservation Week (LCW) is an initiative of Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF). It was created to support the Latinx community in getting into the outdoors and participating in activities to protect our natural resources and includes events throughout the country to show support for protecting our land, water, and air.
Wilderness Youth Project (WYP) is partnering with Los Padres ForestWatch by participating in the campaign to provide opportunities for engagement on California’s Central Coast.
"In the five years that I've been involved with Latinx Conservation Week, I've seen it explode with enthusiasm across the country. It has created a platform for Latinx communities to express our deep appreciation for the environment, public lands, and our cultural heritage. Consequently, there are more meaningful relationships built between people and organizations facilitating nature connection, and driving policy and advocacy on conservation issues."
Graciela Cabello, Director of Youth and Community Engagement at Forest Watch and Wilderness Youth Project Trustee
Increasing Equitable Access
Latinx communities continue to face more institutional barriers to accessing the outdoors than white communities. In 2019 only 15.8% of outdoor recreation visitors to the Los Padres National Forest were Hispanic, according to U.S. Forest Service data, while comprising more than 40% of residents in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
Recognizing the need to increase equitable access to the outdoors, California recently passed legislation to establish the Outdoor Equity Grants Program to provide funding for outdoor recreation and environmental education opportunities for youth in under-resourced communities. The bill--Assembly Bill 209--was authored by Senator Monique Limón, whose district encompasses Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.
"California ranks # 1 as the most diverse state in the country. We also rank #1 as the most biodiverse state. That's why we are so happy to see California commit to making sure everyone has the opportunity to experience the benefits of connecting with nature.”
Michelle Howard, Development Director at Wilderness Youth Project.
Wilderness Youth Project is grounded in the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice. They serve 1200+ youth each year, most through scholarship-supported community partnerships that seek to create outdoor equity. They are deeply committed to these values in their actions and mentoring, rooted in the belief that all children need nature. Our programs aim to build a generation of young stewards who will honor this land, the environment, our history, and the people. They work to build a community based on truth, justice, and peace, through affirmative action practices, developing cultural competence, having a bilingual (English/Spanish) staff, and providing scholarships based on financial need.
Instagram Live! The California Outdoor Equity Program
- Who: Senator Monique Limón, Gloria Sanchez-Arreola, Michelle Howard and Graciela Cabello
- What: Discuss the recent legislation to establish the Outdoor Equity Grants Program which invests in creating opportunities for equitable access to the outdoors
- sign up to stay informed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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