This year, Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary participated in Latino Conservation Week (LCW), a national celebration of activities that shine a spotlight on the Latino community’s strong conservation values and provide access for Latinos (and others) to get outdoors to enjoy and learn about how to protect our natural resources.
To celebrate the sixth year, we did a 2-day community event featuring a campout, salsa dancing, star gazing, games and prizes, habitat restoration and kayaking. The event provided the Latinx community members with an educational opportunity to connect with their local waterways and outdoor spaces. This initiative is run by the Hispanic Access Foundation and numerous groups, growing rapidly from 9 events in 2014 to over 150 events in 2018.
On Friday night, we played icebreaker games, heard an educational talk by Kevin Garcia, Point Reyes National Seashore Hispanic Access Foundation Intern, and took salsa dancing lessons together on the deck overlooking the bay.
On Saturday, one group did habitat restoration work at the center and a second group went on an interpretative kayak trip along Sausalito’s waterfront viewing the local wildlife. With the help of Sea Trek, we gave 21 of our participants the chance to kayak on our beautiful Richardson Bay. Most of them had never even been kayaking before! While paddling, we saw Brown Pelicans, Cormorants, and Gulls foraging as well as habor seals resting on the docks.
One of the main reasons LCW was created is to target underrepresented communities, and low-income families who wouldn’t have the chance to participate in this type of event unless it is free. We partnered with Canal Alliance, a nonprofit that seeks to break the generational cycle of poverty for Latino immigrants and their families by lifting barriers to their success, to reach out to families for this event.
Fabiola Torres, Community Engagement Coordinator of Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary, was inspired to organize this event from her own upbringing. "As I was growing up, I had the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with my family without limitations. This way, I fell in love with the outdoors and became an advocate for nature and its beauty. I would like to provide the same tools that were given to me to others, so that they may also find the joy, curiosity and passion for the outdoor world.”
We thank the following groups for making this event possible: Hispanic Access Foundation, Latino Outdoors, Point Reyes National Seashore, Sea Trek, Sierra Club (donated camping equipment for the event), and Canal Alliance (allowed us to participate in their food pantry to recruit participants for the event).
If posting on social media about the event, please tag Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Hispanic Access Foundation and use the following hashtags: #LCW2019 #LatinoConservationWeek on social media.