Bienvenidos a Nuestra Tierra!
Welcome to Nuestra Tierra! This is the first and last post you'll see from us on the Nuestra Tierra Blog.
We've reserved this space exclusively for youth voices and local and national partners dedicated to moving forward the legacy of Hispanic conservation. On this blog, we'll feature the stories of Hispanic youth, students, volunteers, community leaders, partners, and other advocates from New Mexico and around the country.
To help create the next generation of conservation leaders, it takes our voice being heard and our experiences being told and valued.
That's precisely why we started this project.
Having all worked in various ways to help protect and conserve some of this nation's most special landscapes for future generations, we've seen that far too often, Hispanic and Latino voices - and those of people of color in general - are valued only in the context of moving someone else's agenda forward. In this complex political world dominated by Anglo representatives, rarely do Hispanic voices, and the communities that represent them, stand on their own.
Starting in New Mexico, we hope to change that with the start of the Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project.
Largely focused on youth mentorship, Nuestra Tierra isn't about engaging Hispanic or Native communities only when its politically expedient. We are the community. Working with like-minded volunteers, partner organizations, and community leaders, we'll cultivate lifelong relationships and mentorship opportunities that will benefit New Mexico's youth.
In partnership with, and building on the highly successful model of the nationally recognized Latino Outdoors recreation program, our mission is simple: to help Hispanic and underserved youth and their families experience the outdoors - many for the first time.
By doing this, we hope to teach youth about the history and culture of their ancestors on this land, of the importance of retaining and remembering their Hispanic culture, of the importance of conserving the native flora and fauna of New Mexico, of the importance of protecting our state and our nation's critical widlife habitat and public lands, and of the importance of passing on these same traditions on to future generations.
We focus on creating opportunities for Hispanic communities and families, but welcome and encourage all New Mexican youth from every walk of life and demographic to be a part of Nuestra Tierra.
Along the way, we will also introduce youth to potential career pathways in conservation; professions such as wildlife biologists, botanists, zoologists, park rangers, environmental planners, GIS technicians, nonprofit directors, recreation managers, small business owners, and many, many more.
We'll help youth develop leadership skills that can help them during any stage of their life and career, and encourage them to stay engaged in civic and community processes through a shared culture and a connection to the outdoors.
Youth and community leaders who choose to take leadership roles to help preserve and protect the integrity and public access to New Mexico's most special places will always have a seat at the table and take leadership roles to represent their families and communities.
Latino Outdoors exemplifies the great credo that we want to live by to help us guide our work "Estamos Aqui." That's it. We're here.
See you on the trail,
Gabe Vasquez, Southern New Mexico Coordinator, New Mexico Wildlife Federation
Ben Gabriel, Executive Director, Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
Jose Gonzalez, Founder and Director, Latino Outdoors
Photos from the Founders