By Simon Sotelo, New Mexico Wild Community Grassroots Organizer
The Paper | July 14, 2021
New Mexico Wild and many of our partner organizations are working together to make this year’s Latino Conservation Week the best one yet.
Latino Conservation Week was started by the Hispanic Access Foundation to support Latino communities in getting outdoors and engaging in activities that protect the natural resources all around us. While this is a national initiative, Latino Conservation Week at its core is about communities collaborating on conservation efforts at a hyperlocal level.
This year’s Latino Conservation Week is set for July 17 through 25. Our New Mexico-based coalition of partners is kicking things off with a reception at the Santa Fe Farmers Market Pavilion on Friday, July 16 at 5pm. In addition to the food and festivities, the reception will feature an appearance from New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division Director Axie Navas and some potential surprise appearances from other A-list guests.
As the week progresses, New Mexico Wild and our partners will be hosting a series of events throughout the state. These events will range from group hikes in wilderness and volunteer trail maintenance projects to a conservation-themed art show at Diana Ingalls Lebya Studio and Gallery in Silver City.
Our coalition of nonprofits is also excited to bring back the popular Lotería de Conservación game from last year, updated with lotería cards and tablas. A black-and-white version of last year’s game is available on the New Mexico Wild website, so you can print and color the cards and play the classic game with a conservation twist at home. The updated version of the game in color will make appearances at events throughout Latino Conservation Week and will eventually be available for sale online.
In recent years New Mexico has taken steps forward in improving access to the outdoors for all. The creation of the first-of-its-kind Outdoor Equity Fund has made resources available that make it easier for New Mexicans from all walks of life to get out onto our public lands and open spaces. However, there is still much work to do to ensure that access to the outdoors in New Mexico is truly equitable. While brief, Latino Conservation Week provides us all with an opportunity to not only celebrate Latino contributions to the protection of our natural resources, but to also reflect on what each of us can do to push our state one step closer to true equity.
Whether you are able to attend the kickoff in Santa Fe or the closing celebration at the art show in Silver City—or any of the dozens of events in between—we hope you will join us in celebrating Latino Conservation Week this year.
This guest column originally appeared in The Paper.