Everything You Need To Know About Latino Conservation Week

Photo: Hispanic Access Foundation

Get involved in the barrier-breaking, nationwide event series this July.

The greatest issues facing the outdoors—whether it’s protecting public lands, closing ‘the nature gap’ with those traditionally marginalized from it, and addressing the climate crisis—can present particular problems for the Latino community. 

“We tend to be the ones impacted first when it comes to the challenges of climate change, whether it’s wildfires or other natural disasters,” says Maite Arce, president & CEO of the Hispanic Access Foundation. But the way Arce sees it, the outdoors can also provide the solutions. The key is helping the Hispanic community, already passionate, she says, about the outdoors, to become more engaged in its shared future. 

To meet that goal, Arce champions Latino Conservation Week, which takes place nationwide from July 16-24. It’s a campaign that Arce says, “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.” And while it’s a week of events bound by specific dates, it’s not confined to them. LCW is all about supporting the Latino community to better connect with the outdoors, and uplifting Latino advocacy work to protect the places we love and the natural resources we need—which can happen all year long. Here’s what you need to know.

Members of the Hispanic Access Foundation help in a cleanup Photo: Hispanic Access Foundation

What is Latino Conservation Week? 

LCW is an initiative of the Hispanic Access Foundation and is a week where all kinds of organizations—from businesses to nonprofits—hold community-based events across the country. The events range from hiking meet-ups or festivals to panel discussions, all in the name of getting outside and promoting conservation efforts. The whole point is to “provide an opportunity for Latinos to show their support for permanently protecting our land, water, and air.” During LCW’s first year, in 2014, there were nine events. In 2019 it had grown to over 160. 

What are the goals of LCW? 

The goals of the event are to provide Latinos with local opportunities for outdoor recreation, demonstrate a commitment to conservation and support various issues, and spread the word of the Latino community’s views on these issues. Another important goal is to have fun and connect with other community members over a shared love of the outdoors and a shared interest in protecting our natural resources. “How we experience [the outdoors] is going to be different,” Arce says. “ and we have to avoid that mindset that there’s one correct experience.”

What kind of events take place? 

There’s a wide variety of different events across the country, like film screenings and community events at local parks or recreation areas. That said, all of the events share a common goal of “breaking down barriers” that the Latino community encounters in regard to outdoor recreation and conservation efforts. The events are intended to be accessible to as many people as possible and are typically free or low-cost, and have transportation options available. In the past, there’s been rafting trips, poetry events, roundtable discussions, and an array of other great ideas. You can check out the confirmed 2022 events here, which include happenings like free admission to the Tyler Arboretum in Pennsylvania, an outdoor festival in Leadville, Colo., and a garden stewardship day in Watsonville, Calif. 

How can I get involved? 

Folks can participate in LCW by hosting their own event or attending an event in their community. LCW also accepts donations and always appreciates social media shoutouts that inform others about the work they do and the events they host. Learn more here.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.