July 15, 2021

Cárdenas Joins Hispanic Access Foundation in Kicking Off Eighth Annual Latino Conservation Week

Initiative Breaks Down Barriers to the Outdoors and Inspires Tomorrow’s Stewards

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) joined Hispanic Access Foundation in kicking of their eighth annual Latino Conservation Week (LCW). From July 17 through July 25, Latino communities, organizations, families and individuals will participate in a variety of activities, both virtual and in-person, like hikes, park clean-ups, online expeditions, roundtable discussions, Q&A sessions, scavenger hunts, film screenings, etc., with nearly 140 events being celebrated nationwide.

"As we continue to see the horrific effects of the climate crisis unfold, each of us has a sacred duty to be good stewards of our environment. This fight is personal to me. Conservation is deeply embedded in so many of our histories, traditions and cultural practices. Yet, as Latinos, we often find ourselves on the frontlines of climate catastrophes. That’s why this Latino Conservation Week is so important – it encourages our community to embrace and reconnect with the great outdoors. Our planet is beautiful, and Latino voices are necessary to not only help it survive, but flourish.” Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29)

“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. “Latino Conservation Week helps break down barriers for Latino communities to access public lands and waters, encourages new opportunities for engagement and inspires the next generation of environmental stewards. LCW was first launched in 2014 with 9 events, and grown has grown tremendously to 140+ events.” 

"During this past year with the global pandemic, we learned that virtual advocacy is not only possible, but also more accessible than traditional advocacy, which relies on in-person meetings between constituents and legislators,” said Shanna Edberg, Hispanic Access Foundation’s director of conservation programs. “Armed with this knowledge and findings, this year’s Latino Conservation Week features the “traditional” type of event, especially now that we’re gathering in person, but will also provide a platform for continuing the conversations started in March during Latino Advocacy Week by engaging elected officials in events and encouraging Latinos to take action, advocate and bring these issues to the forefront to help bridge that gap.”

“Latino Conservation Week is an exciting time to come together and celebrate the generations of Latinos that have helped preserve our shared natural and cultural heritage,” said LaTresse Snead, chief program officer at the National Park Foundation. “Through our Latino Heritage Fund, the National Park Foundation is honored to support ongoing efforts, including those of the Hispanic Access Foundation, to preserve and elevate Latino stories and contributions to the U.S., past and present, in national parks.”

“Latino Conservation Week is an important time to celebrate the Latino community’s voice in environmental stewardship and outdoor engagement. We must continue to advocate for bold action to confront the environmental challenges our community faces around equal access to the outdoors and the impacts of the climate crisis.” - Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (CA-44)

“As Latino Conservation Week gets underway, I’m reminded of the opportunities I’ve had to visit our public lands and waterways. But I’m also reminded of how much more we have to do to secure nature equity for underserved communities nationwide. In order for us all to be great environmental stewards, we have to ensure Latino communities have local greenspaces to enjoy and proper access to our national parks. By guaranteeing equitable access to the outdoors, we’ll improve our public health and uplift the cultural and environmental education necessary to protect and preserve our public lands.” Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34)

"For far too long, the Latinx community's contributions to conservation have gone unnoticed, and at worst, ignored, despite being rooted in conservation traditions and sustainable living practices,” said Gabe Vasquez, Las Cruces City Councilor. “Latino Conservation Week presents an opportunity for our community to come together and celebrate the love we have for this planet, and the importance of being good stewards of our environment. In the City of Las Cruces, Latino Conservation Week has become an annual tradition that brings out the best in our community - artists, organizers, hunters and anglers, elected officials, business people and more - who celebrate the practice of taking care of our air, land and water in the Southwest desert." 

“Latino Conservation Week is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the countless contributions of the Latino and Hispanic communities to conservation in New Mexico and all along the Continental Divide,” said Teresa Martinez, Executive Director and Co-founder of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. “Our communities have lived and stewarded these lands for generations, and this week invites people of all backgrounds to learn about the conservation heritage of Hispanic and Latino peoples and to enjoy New Mexico’s public lands together.” 

“Hosting Latino Conservation Week is simply one of the many steps we are taking to reach and engage diverse audiences as we aim to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Mandy Santiago, Executive Director of Tyler Arboretum. “We hope our visitors will participate by attending one of our outdoor fitness programs, enjoying one of our many nature tours, and exploring our hiking trails, unique collections and exhibits such as the Butterfly House and Lucille’s Garden. The full event schedule can be accessed at: tylerarboretum.org/calendar.”

“Defiende Nuestra Tierra is excited to partner with the Hispanic Access Foundation once again to elevate the importance Latino Conservation Week on the western slope of Colorado,” said Beatriz Soto, Director of Defiende Nuestra Tierra. “Now more than ever we need to ensure our public lands are part of the climate solution, Latino and all BIPOC voices must be centered in this conversation. Time and time again, solutions have been created for us, without us at the decision-making table; as we face a warming planet, where many in our communities will be the most impacted, we no longer wish to perpetuate the status quo, we are ready to help create solutions that will serve ALL, we know that we need a just and equitable society in order to meet our climate goals and protect our land, air and land. ‘Nada para nosotros, sin nosotros’.”

The Latino population has grown to more than 60.6 million people  -- more than 18 percent of the nation’s population  --  and are projected to become nearly one-third of the population by 2050. Yet a 2020 Outdoor Industry Association report found that only 11.6 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 to take care of it. But it doesn’t end with engaging with the outdoors. While advocacy has always been a part of LCW, this year, after the inaugural Latino Advocacy Week, the importance of the overlap between the two has only been heightened. The voice of the communities at the frontlines of climate change (Latino, Black, Indigenous communities) must be heard by national decision-makers. The platform created by Latino Conservation Week raises and highlights the voice of the Latino community in the decision-making process.

More than 200 parks, organizations and community groups have joined Latino Conservation Week as partners and sponsors. Sponsors of Latino Conservation Week include Southern California Edison, Patagonia, REI, Colorado Partners in the Outdoors, Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Park Foundation’s Latino Heritage Fund.

The activities span several states and a full listing of events is available at www.LatinoConservationWeek.com. Celebrate online by following #LatinoConservationWeek and #LCW2021 on social media.