We asked staff, coalition members and other local Latinx leaders and advocates in conservation, stewardship and community in the outdoors to share their thoughts and insights on the importance and benefits of nature.

Laura Navar, National Parks Conservation Association

“Disfrutando y Conservando Nuestra Tierra… is important to me because it allows me to heal from transgenerational trauma, connect with my creative side that allows my imagination to run wild and supports building great memories with my loved ones. Conserving these spaces is also about increasing access for all communities, whether it’s for health, spirituality or simply the joy of being outdoors. The joy of nature is the best medicine and needed for future generations.”

Kimberly Orbe, Nature for All

“Disfrutando y Conservando Nuestra Tierra is important for me because for a long time now we have lost our connection to Mother Earth. She has provided for us, not just resources and food, but also an escape from the busy life of the city. There is no better feeling than a hike in the mountains, a run on a trail, a swim in the river or a break under an oak tree. By doing our part to conserve nuestra tierra, we are securing a green future for tomorrow’s generations to enjoy the bountiful gifts nature provides; land, air, water, food, tranquility, love.”

Brenda Kyle, Theodore Payne Foundation

“Mi familia is of Tepehuan descent.  Somos gente de la sierra.  Conserving a place es preservar parte de mi cultura. Suudalgan (ceanothus), uxbik (manzanita),juk (pine), nab (nopal) and huatamote (mulefat) connect the San Gabriel mountains and mis recuerdos de la Sierra Madre Occidental de mi abuela. The plants tell a story y hablan muchos idiomas.”

Adriana Pinedo, Active SGV

“My ancestors never knew big cities, highways, or a formal education yet they learned everything they needed to know from the land. To enjoy and conserve nature to me means continuing to connect with the land the way my ancestors did and remembering we are here with her, not just on her, living connected to everything around us. Enjoying and conserving our land is to connect to the perfectly patient flow of life and see ourselves as another piece of the whole.”

Briana Erhard, Council of Mexican Federations (COFEM)

“Disfrutando y Conservando Nuestra Tierra is important because the land we live on is a vital tool for people to connect to the vast beauty of nature and wildlife around them. As an advocate for Public Lands and Public Lands access, it is crucial that we continue to develop policies that create a windows of opportunities for all people of color in the outdoors. The San Gabriel Mountains provide a respite for urban Angelenos who are often overwhelmed by the daily nuances of city life. During this time of Covid-19, we have seen a greater increase in those who are accessing the trails and outdoor spaces making it more evident that these spaces are a place of joy that many desire to experience and protect.”

Christian La Mont, Latino Outdoors

“Disfrutando Nuestra Tierra is important to me because it is a reminder that everything is connected: clean water, clean air, open space, access, safety, culture, history, community, health, and justice are all part of a larger ecosystem that we must protect.”

Liliana Griego, Friends of the Los Angeles River

“Mother Earth is a place of wonder, healing, and peace. Every time I visit the mountains, rivers, or oceans I am always in awe and leave feeling restored. I believe everyone should have access to experience the magic of nature and this why I advocate to conserve and ensure equitable access to open spaces.”

Miguel Ordeñana, Natural History Museum

“It is important to conserve nuestra tierra because we want to set a good example of responsible stewardship and coexistence for the benefit of future generations and the wildlife that live in urban and rural green spaces. Anti-racist conservation models make these places more accessible, relevant and safer for the BIPOC community. As a proud Latino biologist and educator who grew up in urban L.A., this work is personal.  I know firsthand how it is to feel unsafe and unwelcomed in green spaces but also know the benefits of having access and being inspired by nature. My path to my career was not easy due to a lack of relatable role models but I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today without having intriguing encounters with relatable wildlife survivors such as urban coyotes or the privilege of having supportive parents. I remain passionate about studying awe-inspiring wildlife but am also committed to making nuestra tierra places where wildlife and people of all backgrounds feel welcome.”

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