WASHINGTON -- Visit a national park during Latino Conservation Week and camp under the stars, go canoeing, or participate in sunset walks! Many events are happening at national parks across the country from July 16 to July 24 to create opportunities for Latinos to express their passion for the outdoors.
Launched by Hispanic Access Foundation in 2014, the nine-day event is designed to break down barriers to the Latino population's enjoyment of public lands, encourage new opportunities for, and outreach to, this community to use public lands, and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. Now in its third year, the theme for Latino Conservation Week 2016 is "Enjoying and Conserving our Earth."
The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation are joining forces with Hispanic Access Foundation to spotlight events taking place in national parks during the week as part of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service. As part of the #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque movement, the parks' participation in Latino Conservation Week invites everyone – especially the Latino community – to discover their own national park experience.
"We are thrilled to be a part of Latino Conservation Week, and to support efforts by Hispanic Access Foundation and its partners to invite the Latino community to Find Your Park," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "As we look ahead to the second century, we want everyone to find their own special connections to the incredible places that are our national parks."
Events taking place in national parks during the week include "Share Your Story/Comparte Tu Historia!" at Everglades National Park in south Florida, camping at Gateway National Recreation Area in Brooklyn, N.Y., a guided hike at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in southern California, and an evening bike tour at the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, DC.
"Latino Conservation Week fosters the Latino community's passion for the outdoors and helps introduce them to new sites and opportunities to enjoy and protect our national parks," said Maite Arce, president and CEO of Hispanic Access Foundation. "Through collaboration, we can encourage more Latinos to access and enjoy these locations, which is critical to building future stewards and advocates for these treasured spaces. HAF and its diverse partners – including national and community-based groups – appreciate the support of the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation."
"By offering many different ways to experience the National Park System, Latino Conservation Week highlights the essence of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. "Together with incredible park partners like Hispanic Access Foundation, we are connecting more and more communities across the country to their national parks and National Park Service programs. Whether it's someone's first time visiting a park or a frequent visitor, our goal is to share the idea that parks can be welcoming places to recreate, learn, and explore a passion."
The series of events will also include programs that highlight the work of students in the Latino Heritage Internship Program. The program is a joint effort by the National Park Service, Hispanic Access Foundation and Environment for the Americas to give Latino college students the opportunity to intern in national parks and National Park Service offices. Latino Conservation Week activities supported by interns encourage learning and fun for the whole community. Some of these activities will be held in Boston National Historical Park in Massachusetts, San Juan Island National Historical Park north of Seattle, Washington, Pecos National Historic Park near Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area east of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The organizations will use social media to share Latino Conservation Week events with people around the world, using #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, #LatinoConservationWeek, and #LCW2016.
More information about activities taking place in national parks during Latino Conservation Week is available online at EncuentraTuParque.com and FindYourPark.com.