“A Matter of Representation” – CBS Denver

DENVER (CBS4) – Latinos and Latinas are the second largest ethnic group in Denver, but statistically very few go out to hike, trail, or just spend time outdoors. This week, groups and organizations are looking to change that and are teaching Latinos how to protect the environment.

“There is something really spiritual and healing about being in nature,” said Candace Gonzales. She is a proud Latina who grew up exploring the wilderness. “Yes, I grew up camping and it was a lot of fun. “

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(credit: CBS)

She’s a trail runner, hiker, stand-up paddleboarder and all-around outdoor lady. She loves to see other Latinos take advantage of Mother Nature.

“I’m so excited because it’s very rare to see,” she said. “It’s just about representation and how important it is to feel welcome and to belong somewhere because you see people like you doing what you love to do.”

This is one of the reasons the Hispanic Access Foundation launched Latino Conservation Week. This is an annual initiative created to support the Latin American community to enjoy the outdoors and participate in activities aimed at protecting our natural resources.

This week across the country, including Colorado, the group will partner with nonprofit, faith-based and government organizations for a week of events. In Colorado, events can be held between Cortez and all the way to Estes Park, where the YMCA of the Rockies will guide a hike through Rocky Mountain National Park on July 24.

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After the hike, a park ranger will talk about the local wildlife with the participants. Activities at the YMCA, including archery, a rock climbing wall, and mini golf, will be free to attendees. It is free and open to the public.

(credit: CBS)

On July 21, the Defenders of Wildlife group will be moderating a discussion on Proposition 114 for the reintroduction of gray wolves in Colorado. The proposal was approved by voters in the November 2020 election. The discussion will take place virtually, but the organizers are asking you to pre-register.

Latino Conservation Week was first celebrated in 2014 with nine events and has since expanded to over 160 events across the country.

Gonzales thinks this is an important step in getting Latinos out into the desert. She says it’s especially important with this love of adventure, she hopes people learn to protect the environment they recreate themselves in.

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“It’s the only land we have, and it gives us so much. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. If we don’t do something to protect it, we can’t pass it on to the younger generations. “

About Jonathan J. Kramer

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